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China passes controversial Hong Kong law

Topics Covered:  Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

China passes controversial Hong Kong law

What to study?

For Prelims: All about the new law, it’s relevance and controversy surrounding.

For Mains: How is Hong Kong administered? Implications of the new law.

Context: China’s Parliament has passed new legislation for Hong Kong that will for the first time empower Beijing to draft national security laws for the Special Administrative Region (SAR).

The law will be added to Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, or Basic Law, to require the territory to enforce measures to be decided by the NPC’s standing committee, a small body controlled by the governing party that handles most legislative work.



  • The law is called the “NPC Decision on Establishing and Improving the Legal System and Enforcement Mechanisms for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to Safeguard National Security”.
  • It essentially empowers the NPC to draft new national security laws for Hong Kong.
  • The scope of the laws could cover any activity that “seriously endangers national security”.
  • It is aimed at enabling “measures to counter, lawfully prevent, stop and punish foreign and overseas forces’ use of Hong Kong to carry out separatist, subversive, infiltrative, or destructive activities”.

What next?

Now approved, the NPC’s standing committee will draft the law — a process that is expected to take about two months. It will then be implemented upon promulgation by the Hong Kong government, bypassing the city’s legislature via a rarely-enacted constitutional backdoor.

The law will drastically broaden Beijing’s power over Hong Kong, which last year was roiled by anti-government protests calling for greater democracy and more autonomy from mainland China.

 What’s the issue now?

This act has been criticised by legal experts as it undermines the “one country, two systems” model. Since 1997, Hong Kong has been governed by the Basic Law, which gives the SAR “executive, legislative and independent judicial power, including that of final adjudication”. Only matters of defence and foreign affairs are handled by the central government.

International condemnation:

This move is being seen as a direct violation of China’s international commitments by the United States and its allies – the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.

The US and allies are extremely concerned that this action will exacerbate the existing deep divisions in Hong Kong society.

US has already revoked the special trading status given to Hong Kong.



Prelims Link:

  1. Geographical location of Hong Kong.
  2. What is one country two systems rule?
  3. Relationship of Macau with China.
  4. What is “One country Two systems” principle?

Sources: the Hindu.