Britain’s foreign secretary has told reporters that China’s new national security law for Hong Kong “is a clear and serious violation” of the Sino-British Joint Declaration, the agreement that paved the way for the former British colony’s handover to Chinese rule 23 years ago, AFP reported.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said Wednesday officials have carefully assessed the contents of the new law since it was published late Tuesday. He said he planned to set out details of what action the UK will take along with its international partners in reaction to the law.
Beijing previously unveiled its new national security law for Hong Kong, which provoked deep concern in Washington and Europe, includes a national security office for Hong Kong to collect intelligence and handle crimes against national security, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
Earlier on Wednesday, police fired a water cannon on Hong Kong protesters out in oppostion of the new security legislation.
China says the draft law is aimed at tackling separatist activity, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces, but critics fear it will crush wide-ranging freedoms that are seen as key to Hong Kong’s status as a global financial center.
The details of the law were unveiled following a three-day meeting of the top decision-making body of China’s parliament.
The exact time frame for enacting the law was unclear, although political analysts expect it will take effect ahead of key Legislative Council elections in Hong Kong on September 6.