On 22 May, the National People’s Congress in Beijing announced its “Resolution on Establishing a National Security Law in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR)” and passed it on 28 May.The incident has aroused a new round of public discontent and sustained protests in Hong Kong.
On 24 May, police arrested at least 193 people, as young as 12 years old. Almost half of the 396 people taken into custody on May 27 and 28 were students.
There were about 180 students from some 60 secondary schools or tertiary institutions detained by officers, including about 80 under 18 years old. Some skipped classes or staged sit-ins.
The police have been more heavy-handed than they were last year in dealing with demonstrators.
With the epidemic continuing and the government's ban on people gathering for meals, the number of people protesting this week was not large. Still, by the time the pandemic subsides, around August-September, it will be the eve of the formal passage of the “Hong Kong National Security Law,” and Hong Kong will definitely see mass rallies. The number of people joining the marches may be even greater than anti-extradition movement in last year.
According to the forthcoming National Security Law of Hong Kong, It will be forbidden for Hong Kong residents to engage in separatism or subversion of the state (including the Hong Kong SAR government), or to collaborate with foreign forces to interfere in Hong Kong’s affairs or organise terrorist activities.
The scope of “subversion” will be extremely broad. Buying anti-government publications, for example, or openly calling for an end to the CCP’s single-party rule, will likely be considered breaches of the law.
China’s Ministry of State Security will be able to directly establish its official organs in Hong Kong. Previously, when they wished to seize someone in Hong Kong, they had to do it surreptitiously. Now they will be able to simply detain and interrogate them.
Hong Kong will be required to institute political and ideological education akin to that of Mainland China.
Beginning in June last year, Hong Kongers demonstrated on many occasions in opposition to the Hong Kong government’s revised extradition legislation (the revision would have enabled Hong Kong residents to be extradited to Mainland China), with rallies of up to 2 million people.
Since the Beijing regime is not confident that Hong Kong can legislate National Security Law on its own in the near future, and is afraid of mass protests may provide an example for people elsewhere in southern China to follow, and has therefore decided to bypass the Hong Kong SAR government and legislate directly from the center.
Their aim is to stifle the resistance of the Hong Kong masses, particularly of the city’s youth.
With the implementation of Hong Kong's national security law in Beijing, the situation in Hong Kong will become more precarious and the scope for freedom will become narrower.
A continuous week of demonstrations shows the bravery of the people, youth and students.
But some of the demonstrators also had limitations. Some protesters have not been particularly friendly to recent migrants from the mainland to Hong Kong, for example, yelling at them to go back to the mainland.
The far right nativists are turning to the US government for help or allowing other western powers to intervene, they could easily turn Hong Kong into a pawn in a geopolitical tug-of-war.
This is a worrying xenophobic, pro-American trend, which seems to be gradually gaining ground within the opposition movement, particularly among the militant youth.
The struggle against the National Security Law in Hong Kong is an integral part of the opposition to the Chinese bureaucratic capitalist regime. Our allies should be the people of every country, especially the people of mainland China.
Thus the working masses of Hong Kong need to organise themselves, and unite with all forms of struggle and campaigns in defence of people’s rights in mainland China. Only in this way can political freedoms eventually be won throughout China, and Hong Kong’s democracy autonomy be secured.
Lam Chi Leung is a revolutionary socialist based in Hong Kong and editor of the Marxists Internet Archive Chinese