Hong Kong is ‘anxious, offended and frightened,’ former lawmaker says
“I feel we’re speaking from a really anxious, offended and frightened Hong Kong,” stated Emily Lau, a former Democratic Occasion member of the Hong Kong Legislative Council.
“The massive corporations are additionally very nervous, their traders are nervous as a result of Beijing goes to crack down on Hong Kong, take away our freedoms, our private security, our rule of regulation,” she advised CNBC’s “Road Indicators Asia” on Friday.
The Democratic Occasion is one the biggest opposition political events in Hong Kong, and has the third-largest presence in Legislative Council. Lau is a former chairperson of the get together.
Beijing introduced the draft nationwide safety regulation throughout the Nationwide Individuals’s Congress, an annual assembly of China’s high legislative physique. The regulation, which Beijing stated is “extremely vital,” will prohibit secession, subversion of state energy, terrorism actions and overseas interference, reported Reuters.
Stories of the proposed laws sparked activist requires a protest march on Friday, doubtlessly renewing widespread pro-democracy demonstrations that swamped town for a lot of final 12 months — however got here to a halt because of the coronavirus outbreak at first of this 12 months.
Hong Kong is dominated below the “one nation, two programs” coverage, which provides town self-governing energy, a largely separate authorized and financial framework from China, and varied freedoms together with restricted election rights. It was a framework that was put in place for 50 years, after the previous British colony returned to China in 1997.
A protester holds a flag that claims “Free Hong Kong. Revolution of Our Time” at an indication on December 8, 2019 within the metropolis.
Anthony Kwan | Getty Photographs Information | Getty Photographs
Lau stated the protests will not be a push for Hong Kong’s independence from China.
“We’re not combating for independence or the overthrow of the Communist Occasion with drive and violence,” she stated.
“We simply need the Chinese language authorities to maintain the promise within the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration through which Britain handed Hong Kong over to China below ‘one nation, two programs’ that we will protect our free life-style till 2047,” she added.
That sentiment is shared by many different politicians and activists.
Tanya Chan, a pro-democracy lawmaker from the Civic Occasion, stated the introduction of the draft regulation marked the “saddest day in Hong Kong’s historical past.”
“It confirms one nation, one system,” she advised reporters in Hong Kong, indicating the draft laws is a violation of the “one nation, two programs” framework.
CNBC reached out to the Chinese language authorities for touch upon the politicians’ remarks however has but to listen to again.
Nobody is aware of for certain what is going to occur on the finish of the 50 years, when the coverage is anticipated to stop in 2047, however Hong Kong’s chief Carrie Lam had beforehand stated the one nation, two programs” coverage may proceed past the preliminary 50 years.
‘Time to place an finish to all of it’
In an editorial printed on Friday, Chinese language state media International Instances pushed again at criticisms that the proposed regulation goes towards the “one nation, two programs” framework.
“Quite the opposite, the draft regulation is a transfer aimed toward stopping exterior forces from meddling in HK (Hong Kong) affairs. It might additionally deter the ability HK extremists. The choice would reestablish a steady surroundings the place the ‘one nation, two programs’ precept may work easily,” it learn.
The editorial additionally blamed “inner and exterior opposition forces” for “manipulating safety loopholes” within the metropolis.
“For the 12 months of 2019, HK didn’t take pleasure in a single peaceable day. It was like a metropolis in an undeveloped nation engulfed in turmoil. Shops and subway stations had been broken, roads had been blocked, and harmless individuals had been attacked and burned. School college students had been prevented from attending lessons,” it stated.
“Because of the chaos, HK fell sharply within the world rankings. Now’s the time to place an finish to all of it.”
However Lau — the previous lawmaker — stated the proposed safety laws is not going to solely have an effect on the Hong Kong individuals. She stated it should additionally influence a lot of overseas residents and multi-national corporations which have benefited from town’s freedom.
“I feel Hong Kong individuals should, we’ve to face up for our rights, we’ve to face up for our rules,” she stated. “However I additionally name on the worldwide neighborhood … to do one thing for us.”
— CNBC’s Huileng Tan and Lilian Wu contributed to this report.