Mon, 10 Aug 2020

Washington [US], July 05 (ANI): The new Hong Kong security law, which is commonly dubbed as the anti-protest law, is a tool deployed by the Chinese government to quash dissent, said Global Affairs analyst Michael Bociurkiw. He said that the West needs to take definitive actions and just condemning the act is not sufficient.

In an opinion piece in CNN, Bociurkiw writes that Hong Kong, overnight and with no consultation, became a legal and security jurisdiction of China, "denying its citizens the 27 more years of semi-autonomy Beijing had promised under the "one country, two systems" model that was to have been in effect until 2047".

Bociurkiw said that while the world is distracted by the Covid-19 pandemic and the antics of the Trump administration, China has moved to suppress Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement. "This step is consistent with a regime that knows it has to act quickly in the current discombobulated geopolitical environment," he writes.

He said the new law has dealt a heavy blow to pro-democracy activism, with activists reportedly deleting social media posts and with the leadership of one pro-democracy group, Demosisto, announcing it would step down. Another pro-democracy leader, Nathan Law, announced he had fled the city.

"Beijing acted in sledgehammer fashion in response to months of often violent protests that caused significant destruction of public property, including vandalism and fires at transit stations, and which caused the economy to tank," he writes.

"The last thing the central authorities would want is for the protest movement to spread onto the mainland, especially at a time when its own economy is feeling the ill effects from the long battle with Covid-19," he adds.

Around 9,000 Hong Kong residents have been arrested since the start of pro-democracy, anti-government protests last year, and nearly 600 have been charged with rioting. The new law appears to be Beijing's final move against them.

The analyst said that Washington needs to follow the lead of the United Kingdom and its "new bespoke immigration route," which could pave the way for British citizenship for some 2.9 million Hong Kongers who hold special passports as overseas British subjects from before 1997.

"While sanctions are the international community's go-to tool of punishment when it comes to holding regimes accountable for their actions, standing by Hong Kong should include expedited refugee status for members of the city's pro-democracy movement and eased immigration restrictions for anyone else who is fearful," he writes.

"And freezing China's flagship technology giant Huawei out of the global 5G buildout would also deliver an unambiguous and painful blow," he adds. (ANI)

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