CNA Staff, Jul 1, 2020 / 14:00 pm
The new national security law in Hong Kong is an assault on the rights of the people, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on Wednesday, July 1.
“When Beijing announced its intention to pass the so-called National Security Law, so-called, we were concerned. It was frightening,” said Pelosi at the hearing, titled “The End of One Country, Two Systems?: Implications of Beijing’s National Security Law in Hong Kong” .
“[The law] is nothing short of an all-out effort to negate the rights of the people of Hong Kong in violation of the agreements made under the ‘One Country, Two Systems,’ said the California Democrat.
Pelosi said that Congress had long been concerned about the law’s final form, but the text of the legislation “exceeds even those horrors.”
“The law is a brutal, sweeping crackdown against the people of Hong Kong, intended to destroy the freedoms they were promised,” she said.
When China assumed control of Hong Kong on July 1, 1997, the country pledged to allow Hong Kong the ability to maintain its existing administrative and economic systems, including far broader democratic and civil rights than the mainland, and even preserving its own currency.
The new security law, which was only fully published hours before it went into effect, carries harsh sentences for violators.
Under the new law, a person who is convicted of secession, subversion, terrorism or collusion with foreign forces will receive a minimum of 10 years in prison, with the possibility of a life sentence. The law’s broad definition of terrorism includes arson and vandalizing public transportation “with an intent to intimidate the Hong Kong government or Chinese government for political purposes.”