National security law takes effect

Local | 30 Jun 2020 11:34 pm

The national security law for Hong Kong formally takes effect an hour before the 23rd anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover after the SAR government promulgated the law.

This is the first time the full text of the legislation has been made public, as the law outlined the three special cases that Beijing retains jurisdiction over.

The Central Government will retain jurisdiction for complex cases due to the involvement of a foreign country or external elements, thus making it difficult for the SAR to exercise jurisdiction over the case.

Beijing will also have jurisdiction if the SAR government is unable to effectively enforce the national security law or when a major and imminent threat to national security has occurred.

Nonetheless, definitions and penalties for four types of offenses crimes are revealed for the first time, and some are more vigorous than speculations expected, as the four crimes listed out in the law all carry a jail term for life.

According to the full text of the law, the maximum penalty for colluding with external forces and secession will be a life sentence, as previous speculations did not expect the charge to carry a life sentence.

Colluding with foreign forces to obstruct government policies, or asking foreign countries to sanction Hong Kong are made offenses under the national security law.

Accepting foreign funding or assistance in arousing Hongkongers’ hatred against the SAR or Central government are also prohibited. 

The maximum penalty for colluding with external forces and terrorism will be a life sentence, same as subversion or secession. 

As for the offense of terrorism, those who commit arson, injure others or damage transport facilities with the aim of forcing the government to heed their political goals would also be liable.

On the other hand, interfering or obstructing SAR or China authorities from performing its duty already constitute subversion against state power, alongside overthrowing Hong Kong and Beijing authorities.

The law also regarded attacks and vandalism behaviors against workplaces of SAR authorities as subversion, which also carries a life sentence for those convicted of subversion.

For secession, the law also prohibits the separation of the SAR or any other parts of the country from China.

Anyone who organizes activities aiming at secession might face life imprisonment, while those who actively participated will also face a three to ten year jail term, and other participants will be liable for imprisonment for under three years.

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