China has on Tuesday passed a national security law for Hong Kong, as reported by multiple local media outlets in the city. According to AFP, residents of the bustling city fear the move will usher in a wave of mainland style political repression.
AFP Rreports that The National Standing Committee, China’s top lawmaking body, unanimously approved the legislation on Tuesday morning.
According to Beijing, the law is targeted at cutting out subversion, secession, terrorism and colluding with foreign forces is needed to return stability to Hong Kong after a year of angry pro-democracy protests.
However, Hong Kong’s 7.5 million residents have yet to see the contents of the law.
Fears linger, however of the possibility that said law might erode Hong Kong’s unique political freedoms and hollow out its autonomy , based on the fact that similar laws are used to crush dissent on the authoritarian mainland.
In an unprecedented move, Beijing bypassed Hong Kong’s legislature to pass the law, which was signed off just six weeks after it was first announced.
AFP reports that Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam — a pro-Beijing appointee — has declined to comment on whether the law had been passed.
“I think at this moment, it is not appropriate for me to comment on any questions related to the national security law,” Lam told reporters.
Rights groups, many western governments and the Unitied Nations’ rights body have expressed alarm over the law.