Beijing to draft Hong Kong security laws: media

Beijing, May 21 (efe-epa).- China is to draft a national security law that would illegalize sedition and subversion in special-status Chinese territory of Hong Kong, according to local media Thursday.

Anonymous mainland sources told the South China Morning Post that the law would also ban foreign interference and any attempts to overthrow the central government.

The move comes as China’s top brass gather in Beijing for the so-called Two Sessions — the National People’s Congress (NPC), the annual meeting of parliament, and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), which brings together figures from several sectors of society.

The sources said Beijing had lost patience with the Hong Kong regional government and parliament’s inability to approve its own national security law in accordance with the Basic Law, which underpins the mini-constitution in the semi autonomous region.

Discussions on the semi-autonomous territory come after months of pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong that consumed the city after its regional leaders proposed a new — and now retracted — extradition law that critics said would allow mainland China to target dissidents.

Article 23 of the Basic Law stipulates that the Hong Kong government must draw up its own laws to proscribe acts of treason, secession, sedition and subversion of the central government.

However, Hong Kong has gone without a national security law on such activities since it returned to Chinese sovereignty after a century and a half of British colonial rule in 1997.

An attempt in 2003 was shelved when hundreds of thousands of Hong Kongers came out to protest against it, saying it infringed on their freedoms.

The expected move from China comes ahead of parliamentary elections in Hong Kong slated for September in which the opposition hopes to gain a historic majority in order to block proposals from the Beijing-friendly government currently in charge.

According to several Hong Kong media outlets, a draft will be presented to Hong Kong delegates at the NPC, which is controlled by the Communist Party of China, and then as a resolution on Friday.

The voting session of the NPC is expected to take place on 28 May, after which resolutions are to be sent to the permanent committee for final approval, set to meet in June. EFE-EPA


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