Beijing defends China's latest crackdowns in Hong Kong

Hong Kong - After introducing new national security laws in March, China's director of Hong Kong and Macau Affairs has defended moves that restrict freedom of speech and threaten jail terms for dissenters against Beijing.

The regime in Beijing has imposed radical security restrictions on residents and businesses in Hong Kong.
The regime in Beijing has imposed radical security restrictions on residents and businesses in Hong Kong.  © IMAGO/NurPhoto

The national security law, dubbed Article 23, threatens jail terms up to and including life imprisonment for those believed to have committed sabotage, treason, espionage, sedition, or the theft of state secrets against Beijing.

Emphasizing that the new laws have been carefully designed not to threaten investment, Beijing's director of Hong Kong and Macau Affairs, Xia Baolong, gave a speech in which he said that the bill would protect the rights of citizens.

"To move towards governance and prosperity, we need to tightly hold onto the bottom line of national security in order to safeguard the high-quality development of Hong Kong," Xia said.

Beijing defends security measures against Western critics

Beijing's director of Hong Kong and Macau Affairs, Xia Baolong, gave a speech in which he said that Article 23 would protect the rights of citizens.
Beijing's director of Hong Kong and Macau Affairs, Xia Baolong, gave a speech in which he said that Article 23 would protect the rights of citizens.  © Peter PARKS / AFP

Having described the law as "the protector" of the Hong Kong public and foreign investors' "rights, freedoms, property, and investment," Xia moved to attack Western countries' criticism of the measures.

The United States was joined by allies, including Britain, Canada, and Australia, as well as the United Nations, in raising concerns over the potential for infringement on human rights, including crackdowns on freedom of speech and the potential for wrongful imprisonment.

In a brutal rebuttal, Xia called the West a group of "mantises and flies" and said that "for an extremely small number of people who endanger national security, this law is an overhanging sharp sword."

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Responding to the measures, the US Consulate General in Hong Kong updated the State Department's travel advisory, asking potential visitors to "exercise increased caution."

Security laws imposed by Beijing on Hong Kong since the 2019–2020 protests have since seen hundreds imprisoned, including journalists and outspoken critics of the Chinese regime under Xi Jinping.

Cover photo: IMAGO/NurPhoto

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