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National security law for Hong Kong approved unanimously today: Sources

Police officers patrol the Eastern artificial island of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge. Photo: Dickson Lee. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

HONG KONG, Jun 30, 2020, RTHK. The National People’s Congress Standing Committee has unanimously approved the national security law that is to be imposed in Hong Kong, sources tell RTHK.

Although there has been no official publication of the details of the law so far, the committee has reportedly approved the move – with all of the 162 members of the committee voting for the resolution.

Sources have told RTHK that the maximum penalty for crimes like secession is set at a jail term that’s “much higher” than 10 years and there’s no mention of retrospective effect for the law.

The national security law will then be applied to the SAR via promulgation, after the SAR authorities include the relevant national security law into Annex III of the Basic Law.

The move of introducing national security laws to Hong Kong had been passed by the wider National People’s Congress on May 28, with the aim to “establish and improve the legal system and enforcement mechanisms for Hong Kong to safeguard national security”.

That means now it’s legitimate for the setting-up of mainland security agencies in Hong Kong, as well as a committee to be headed by the Chief Executive to appoint judges to deal with relevant national security cases as state media had earlier reported.

Xinhua news agency had said that under the new law, the Chief Executive shall appoint judges to handle national security court cases, from serving or former magistrates and judges from any court.

But the CE will be supervised by the central government, and in case of discrepancies between the security law and existing Hong Kong laws, provisions in the new legalisation shall be adopted. The power of interpreting this law is vested in the NPCSC, it added.

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