back to article Details of Beijing's new Hong Kong security law signal end to more than two decades of autonomy

China's mainland government has enforced a sweeping national security law in Hong Kong, increasing its hold on the territory in what HK's chief exec, Carrie Lam, has described as the "most important development" in the former British colony's history since its handover. The measures were rushed through China's top legislative …

  1. batfink Silver badge

    Ah yes, the old "Endangering National Security" line

    The same old line used by oppressive regimes everywhere: "refusing to do what we want"== "endangering national security".

    Now it'll be the Uighur treatment for all the unruly Hong-Kongers.

    That'll be the end of the Two Systems then. Just another brick in the nationalist walls going up around the world.

    I would hope that the UK will now do what it should've done in 1999 and offer a migration route for the Hong Kong people who want to leave.

    Alternatively, IIRC some genius in Australia proposed sawing off a bit of the Northern Territory, declaring it semi-independent, and inviting all the Hong Kong residents to come over and rebuild there from scratch. That'd work nicely IMO.

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: Ah yes, the old "Endangering National Security" line

      I would hope that the UK will now do what it should've done in 1999 and offer a migration route for the Hong Kong people who want to leave.

      It just has: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-53246899

      1. anothercynic Silver badge

        Re: Ah yes, the old "Endangering National Security" line

        It *claims* to have... whether that *is* the case or whether La Patel (bless her) will throw down a bunch of stumbling blocks in their path is another guess...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Ah yes, the old "Endangering National Security" line

          >>or whether La Patel (bless her) will throw down a bunch of stumbling blocks in their path is another guess...

          No need to guess. She was crystal clear about offering better terms and more places to Indians wanting to come to the UK after brexit. I doubt she'll want to renege on the deals she's already "promised".

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Ah yes, the old "Endangering National Security" line

        >It just has:

        Not much more than a 12 month renewable visa. Hardly the same as the residency rights that were taken away pre 1997.

        I wouldn't move my family here based on those kind of wishywashy undertakings. Better to head to Canada. Especially given the Home Office's penchant for incinerating records.

        1. anothercynic Silver badge

          Re: Ah yes, the old "Endangering National Security" line

          Precisely. The promises of this government (or any future governments made up with the same bunch of people) are not worth the paper they are printed on as far as this is concerned.

    2. UCAP

      Re: Ah yes, the old "Endangering National Security" line

      Sadly this was going to happen sooner or later. HK was a bad example to the rest of China, at least in the eyes of the Chinese Communist Party which is going to view it as a potential challenge to their control over the country.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: Ah yes, the old "Endangering National Security" line

        Once people have tasted freedom, taking it away will result in a HUGE backlash.

        'Perestroika' backfired for the USSR, but for a slightly different reason. When USSR-ians got a taste of capitalism and freedom, they wanted MORE, IMMEDIATELY. HK already had this to some extent, and now way LESS. Taking what little freedom they had away like that isn't going to have good consequences.

        I expect a LOT of China's citizens quietly rebelling, in subtle yet significant ways, so as not to be the nail that sticks out that gets the hammer. And in HK, I expect it to get _EVEN_ _LOUDER_. At some point, you just "press F-it". Something about not being able to govern against the will of the people, and when there's NO HOPE and nothing left that has not already been taken away, many will "press F-it" and do what desperate people do... reminding us of Tiananmen Square.

        1. ST Silver badge

          Re: Ah yes, the old "Endangering National Security" line

          The difference between the USSR's Perestroika and what's happening now in HK is that Gorbachev - a rather brilliant Dude may I add - was unwilling to enforce the jackboot on Russians to the degree his predecessors were. Quite the opposite, he slowly opened up the pressure valves.

          That's not what the Chinese are doing to HK now. They seem perfectly willing to give HK the DPRK treatment. Which is yes, horrifying and theoretically unacceptable, but, let's face it, no-one is going to go to war with China over HK.

          So yeah, just in case someone had any doubts about the Chinese Communist Party's real intentions with respect to human and civil rights.

          1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

            Re: Ah yes, the old "Endangering National Security" line

            They seem perfectly willing to give HK the DPRK treatment. Which is yes, horrifying and theoretically unacceptable, but, let's face it, no-one is going to go to war with China over HK.

            Especially as their fate was sealed 20 years ago and complaints boil down to China prematurely doing what they are only allowed to do in another 30 years.

            Still, I guess we could have a 30 year war which ends with us walking off the battlefield with a cheery "okay; now you can do whatever you want".

            I do feel sorry for the people of Hong Kong who were 'sold out' decades ago, but there's not a lot anyone could do about it then nor now.

            The UK isn't willing to let everyone who wants to leave come here, and what appears to be on offer is far less it could be. They're on their own. I wish them luck but this is their 'new normal'. It's 30 years earlier than expected but it was always going to happen.

          2. toejam

            Re: Ah yes, the old "Endangering National Security" line

            I recall about 20 years ago somebody once saying: "the Soviets gave their people personal freedoms before they had economic security while the Chinese gave their people economic security before they had personal freedoms. One of those paths is going to result in less disruption than the other when the oppression is dialed back."

            It might have actually worked had Chinese leadership not gone the direction it did after Tiananmen Square.

      2. DoctorNine

        Re: Ah yes, the old "Endangering National Security" line

        All correct. But I would say rather it was a good example. And they couldn't have that...

      3. crayon

        Re: Ah yes, the old "Endangering National Security" line

        "HK was a bad example to the rest of China"

        On the contrary, it was too good an example, as of about last year several mainland cities had GDP surpassing or close to surpassing that of HK. Believe it or not a lot of mainland peeps had high regards for HK (/had/, until the protests and subsequent riots started last year). They like the relative cleaniness, relative politeness and relative orderliness. The "relative" qualifier is because HK doesn't fare well in civilness compared to other world cities and mainland cities are fast catching up - eg drivers and pedestrians used to treat traffic light signals as advisory, drivers used to completely ignore pedestrian crossings.

        They don't mention "freedom", because for most they have freedoms unimaginable to their parents or grandparents. In the past the State pretty much ran your life including your work unit deciding where you should live and needing their approval to even get married, and again when you want to have children. All that malarkey has gone.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Ah yes, the old "Endangering National Security" line

          Is that you Xi Jinping?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @batfink - Re: Ah yes, the old "Endangering National Security" line

      In case you missed it, that's exactly how Spain is dealing with Catalan separatists. Read about it and come back here to tell us your thoughts.

    4. onemark03

      ... Hong Kong people who want to leave.

      Assuming the authorities let them leave.

      But I stand to be corrected.

    5. JCitizen Bronze badge
      Go

      Hopefully..

      Maybe Australia could make some kind of offer that would not include some kind of apartheid like that land deal would. Of course I doubt they were serious; but really I think it would be a boon to the Australian economy! Of course I would think Taiwan might consider letting migrants to go there; although I don't know what the attitude is, for fearing PRC retribution.

    6. David Shaw

      Re: Ah yes, the old "Endangering National Security" line

      ‘nudge’

      suppression polls

      pessimistic op-eds

      color revolution theme - is it “slipper” today or “umbrellas” again

      media united - spook driven(1)

      doesn’t smell like freedom & democracy here, there and everywhere!

      (1) https://www.scmp.com/comment/opinion/article/3091438/us-has-been-exposed-funding-last-years-hong-kong-protests (Time mag reports NED, again)

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    a "grave step, which is deeply troubling."

    ...or else

    Or else what?

    Or else we will be very, very angry with you. And we will impose strict sanctions on China, and break off all diplomatic relationship with China, and expel / not allow any Chinese students in British universities, and stop goods made in China entering the UK sell no British products to China, UNLESS.

    ...

    Ha, got you there, only kidding! We will write you a letter, telling you how angry we are, how's that? Now, can we talk about that free-trade deal, please? PLEASE?

  3. DavCrav Silver badge

    I must have an old calendar here

    God, 2047 came quickly. Who can believe it's been 50 years since the handover of Hong Kong, when China pinkie swear promised to maintain two systems for 50 years?

    Edit: something weird going on with The Register's systems. First my post disappears completely, then it appears twice, and then I could not remove the second one. Then it finally worked. Bizarre. And the fact it happened on a China-related article is just a coincidence.

    It almost certainly is just a coincidence, but this is how rumours are started.

    1. 2+2=5 Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: I must have an old calendar here

      > Edit: something weird going on with The Register's systems. First my post disappears completely, then it appears twice, and then I could not remove the second one. Then it finally worked. Bizarre. And the fact it happened on a China-related article is just a coincidence.

      Did you write it on a Huawei phone?

  4. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
    FAIL

    Nothing is more subversive than...

    Freedom of Speech, Democracy, Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Thought,...

    1. DemeterLast

      Re: Nothing is more subversive than...

      Those sound pretty good. Can't wait for the US to adopt some of those!

      1. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: Nothing is more subversive than...

        Relevance? Nothing more than the feeble minded equivalent of "Look! It's a squirrel!".

        The imperfections of one place is not a valid justification for abuse in another.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Severely endangering national security

    > Li Zhanshu, chairman of China's top legislative body, repeated assurances that the law would "punish extremely few while protecting the majority". Zhang Xiaoming, deputy director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, called the law a "'sword of Damocles' hanging above extremely few criminals who are severely endangering national security".

    And on day 1 we see their definition of "severely endangering national security" includes holding a flag.

    What a weak, insecure, petty little government it is, that doesn't have enough faith in their own policies to hear criticism.

    1. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: Severely endangering national security

      Counterpoint: ideals of free speech, thought, etc. are cultural values important to the West*. China may view stability and predictability as more important. Viewing their choices as "insecure" and "petty" reflects a cultural judgement that may indicate a lack of understanding of the framework for their decision making. China's decision is at odds with our cultural values* and the desires of many of the citizens of Hong Kong, but that does not make it wrong in an absolute sense. I also think it's a mistake to view it through that lens because it reduces our capacity to engage creatively and productively with the motivations of the Chinese government.

      * Your mileage may vary

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Severely endangering national security

        A society without free thought cannot flourish, cannot progress. China is making economic progress via brute-force economic investment and a low grade of its traditional craftsmanship. They have always been crafters, not thinkers, as the imperial court did not want independent thought. Nor does Emperor Xi. So now all ideas must come down from Xi, even in Hong Kong, and ideas not Xi's will not be tolerated. Under China's famous penalty of dissection for organ donation.

        1. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
          Meh

          Re: Severely endangering national security

          "A society without free thought cannot flourish, cannot progress."

          I don't disagree with you, but the Chinese government (indeed, its people) may prize stability more than "flourishing" or "progress." The Chinese government sounds conservative in the classical sense, which, again, is a cultural value rather than absolutely wrong. Personally, I am liberal in the classical as well as modern sense: I think it's worthwhile to maximize freedom and let people live as they choose as long they're not harming others. Not everyone agrees, even in Western society; if you can understand why Westerners are conservative, perhaps you will be closer to understanding China.

          1. doublelayer Silver badge

            Re: Severely endangering national security

            "the Chinese government (indeed, its people) may prize stability more than "flourishing" or 'progress.'"

            Rubbish. The Chinese government prefers that because stability means the previous status quo, I.E. they have all the power, stays in place. The people don't get to decide because 1) the government has done everything it can to mislead them about the benefits of their rule and the dangers of its removal, 2) the government has done everything it can to indicate that, should you have opinions, it is wise not to tell anyone lest they be forced to give you some vocational training, 3) the government has also indicated that, if you don't have opinions or even if you do, and someone asks you for your opinion, you should state one fully supporting the government, and 4) the government has demonstrated the capability and willingness to back up items 1-3 with violence.

            I am tired of the arguments that a dictatorship is suddenly acceptable because it is desired by its victims. It's simply not true. Cultures may have different ideas about what they view as logical, but similar cultures in places like Taiwan and yes, Hong Kong, prove that there is not some Chinese acceptance of authoritarianism. No, you cannot base it off the writings of east Asian philosophers who preached the same, because I can find Thomas Hobbes and many like him and throw him back at you. Democracy as it is currently practiced is a relatively new concept, and it is not restricted to some subset of the world's cultures.

            Everyone is capable of deciding how they want their government constructed. Nearly universally, when people are given that choice, even without experience with all options, they have chosen democracy or something they thought would be democracy. The democracy practiced in Japan and South Korea is differently structured than that in the U.K. and U.S., just as it is different from that practiced in Chile, Sweden, or various other clearly democratic countries.

        2. LucreLout Silver badge

          Re: Severely endangering national security

          They have always been crafters, not thinkers

          I'm sorry but I can't accept that as a fair description of Chinese heritage. The Chinese invented everything from fired bricks to gun powder, the magnetised iron compass to bank notes, oil wells to fireworks, steel to tea to toilet paper. That's just the stuff I can see out of my window (the oil well is proxied by the petrol in my car).

          Sun Tzu's Art of War is still a standard military text at every officer academy of every major army. Their martial arts are studied the world over. Thinkers scroll from Confucious to Sun Yat-sen. China has always been industrious, civilized, and creative. As a nation it has contributed much of value to the world.

          Unfortunately right now its contributing a mistake, from which I hope it will learn. It's not the first nation to make a mistake in 2020 and I doubt it'll be the last. Another poster raised quite an astute point about differing cultural values and got hammered with down votes, but he's not entirely wrong and the differences should be respected.

          Offering those that cannot live with these changes alternative residence seems like a peaceful way to depressurize the situation without bloodshed. Britain has given China a way to deescalate the conflict without losing face.

          Only America could equal China in an armed conflict, and anyone who has played Fallout has probably had fair indication of what would be left in the event of all out war, only without the vaults, it may be an optimistic view.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "A society without free thought cannot flourish, cannot progress."

          I wish I could agree with you, but I'm afraid you might be wrong. After all, if China has enough money (and power), it can import certain minds and flourish on end results of such import. In the past (last 30 years or so), they have usually stolen those results (not that this is unique course of action for other nations. Now they can afford to buy them, and keep buying them and, in fact, there's a long line of free-thought minds that can't wait to be bought.

          I feel instinctively that it's wrong and this model of un-democracy is unsustainable, on the other hand... unless they get involved in a major war, I can see such system continue for quite some time, certainly longer than, in some sense identical, Russian system. As long as the plebs are reasonably happy, sedated with latest, direct input gaming, etc., free thought, well... I hope I'm wrong.

          1. batfink Silver badge

            Re: "A society without free thought cannot flourish, cannot progress."

            I also feel instinctively that this model of non-democracy is wrong, but I don't see that it's necessarily unsustainable - so I'm more inclined to your "otoh".

            Serious democracy is only a recent invention, historically speaking, and there have been a lot of examples of long-lived societies with only token democracy (if any) in the past - we only have to look at Chinese history!

      3. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: Severely endangering national security

        "China's decision is at odds with our cultural values* and the desires of many of the citizens of Hong Kong, but that does not make it wrong in an absolute sense."

        Yes, but that's merely because there is no such thing as absolutely wrong. However, in most moral systems, arresting people for holding a flag is considered wrong. So is, you know, a concentration camp.

        " I also think it's a mistake to view it through that lens because it reduces our capacity to engage creatively and productively with the motivations of the Chinese government."

        There is no engaging with the Chinese government. This is the folly that landed us in this problem. You cannot engage with them, as it is a dictatorship hell-bent on domination both at home and abroad. The CCP used to be content with staying out of the press abroad and repression at home, but Xi needs his Lebensraum. He's an expansionist in the classic colonial mold. So you see him agrgressively building his power and then pushing in all directions at once. The East China Sea, the South China Sea, India, Australia, Hong Kong, Taiwan.

        They even built an illegal wall in bloody Belfast for God's sake.

        It's as plain as day what the Chinese government wants. A bigger empire, and a return to the world bringing it tribute.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @DavCrav - Re: Severely endangering national security

          Small correction. China does not want a bigger empire, they just want back a piece of land the British Empire appropriated illegally (a mild definition for theft) after the first Opium War. This is history.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @DavCrav - Severely endangering national security

            Small correction. China does not want a bigger empire, they just want back a piece of land the British Empire appropriated illegally (a mild definition for theft) after the first Opium War. This is history.

            Bigger correction. China signed an agreement under which that territory was returned, subject to certain conditions. It has now unilaterally decided to tear up that agreement and ignore the conditions it agreed to. This is arrogance.

            1. StickThatInYourPieHole

              Re: @DavCrav - Severely endangering national security

              One of those certain conditions was Basic Law Article 23. Which LEGCO did not implement. Who broke the agreement again?

          2. SkippyBing Silver badge

            Re: @DavCrav - Severely endangering national security

            You may want to tell that to all the countries it's having territorial disputes with in the South China Sea on the basis of a map they made up in the early 20th Century.

          3. DavCrav Silver badge

            Re: @DavCrav - Severely endangering national security

            "China does not want a bigger empire, they just want back a piece of land the British Empire appropriated illegally"

            1) Do the wishes of the residents of that particular piece of land matter? I guess no in your mind.

            2) I didn't know the UK illegally stole the Paracel and Spratly Islands. Or Taiwan. Or the Galwan Valley.

            1. StickThatInYourPieHole

              Re: @DavCrav - Severely endangering national security

              https://scroll.in/article/965502/how-british-ambiguity-about-frontier-between-india-and-china-paved-way-for-a-post-colonial-conflict

              The British didn't steal it. They just arsed up mapping and the border agreements. It's a long read but worth it.

        2. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge

          Re: Severely endangering national security

          "There is no engaging with the Chinese government."

          Only a Sith deals in absolutes. More seriously, when you have a country of 1.7, sorry, 1.8, sorry, 1.9 billion people, failing to understand how to engage with them productively seems, uh, counterproductive.

          1. DavCrav Silver badge

            Re: Severely endangering national security

            "Only a Sith deals in absolutes. More seriously, when you have a country of 1.7, sorry, 1.8, sorry, 1.9 billion people, failing to understand how to engage with them productively seems, uh, counterproductive."

            And what if they aren't interested in engagement, and just obedience?

            1. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge

              Re: Severely endangering national security

              "And what if they aren't interested in engagement, and just obedience?"

              Then that is certainly worth understanding. It may, however, also be instructive to understand why they want only obedience. It may be possible to engage at a deeper level with the cultural motivations behind that desire (where engagement can mean any number of things from diplomacy to subterfuge). Engaging only with the superficial will yield only superficial results and almost certainly will result in the West being manipulated by China.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Severely endangering national security

        > Counterpoint: ideals of free speech, thought, etc. are cultural values important to the West*. China may view stability and predictability as more important. Viewing their choices as "insecure" and "petty" reflects a cultural judgement that may indicate a lack of understanding of the framework for their decision making.

        On the contrary, my point is independent of underlying cultural values. The comparison is not that of China's choices to the West's choices, but the Chinese government's choices to the Chinese peoples' choices.

        If the Chinese government's policies truly are in line with the cultural values of the population, then they can govern with confidence with no need for suppressing criticism. That they crack down harshly on those who dissent - also among the mainland population - indicates to me that the government itself does not believe that their policies are truly in line with the cultural values of the population they govern. That is insecurity.

        When the emperor Pooh leader can't take a joke against their person, that is insecurity. When they invoke laws to punish such jokes, that is pettiness.

        1. batfink Silver badge

          Re: Severely endangering national security

          I'm not sure about that.

          You're never going to get 100% of a population agreeing on anything. Where would you draw the line?

          You could say that if 99% of the population agree with the Chinese government's policies, then they shouldn't need to clamp down on dissent, but given the numbers involved, that could still be ~1.4 million dissenters.

          I'm not supporting suppression, to be clear.

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Severely endangering national security

      Are they still allowed to carry the Union Jack ?

    3. onemark03

      government (...) doesn't have enough faith in their own policies to hear criticism.

      Hardly surprising.

      Authoritarian governments of all stripes typically don't tolerate criticism.

  7. Cynic_999 Silver badge

    Terrorism Act 2006

    Does the Chinese legislation contain anything significantly more Draconian that the UK Terrorism Act 2006? This had the addition of making it a serious criminal offence to do anything that may "encourage terrorism" or "glorify terrorism". The Act explicitly applies to foreign nationals who are alleged to be facillitating or encouraging terrorist acts from outside the UK. Like the Chinese legislation, such individuals can be arrested if they enter any country under UK juristiction, and if found guilty sentenced to very lengthy prison terms.

    Incidentally, the Terrorism Act 2000 includes the legal definition of "terrorism". AFAICS our offensive against Iraq fits all the criteria of the legal definition of terrorism. Judge for yourself, especially considering subsection 4. Is the UK government therefore a terrorist organisation, and its armed forces terrorists?

    Quoted from the Terrorism Act 2000

    "

    1 Terrorism: interpretation.

    (1)In this Act “terrorism” means the use or threat of action where—

    (a)the action falls within subsection (2),

    (b)the use or threat is designed to influence the government or an international governmental organisation or to intimidate the public or a section of the public, and

    (c)the use or threat is made for the purpose of advancing a political, religious, racial or ideological cause.

    (2)Action falls within this subsection if it—

    (a)involves serious violence against a person,

    (b)involves serious damage to property,

    (c)endangers a person’s life, other than that of the person committing the action,

    (d)creates a serious risk to the health or safety of the public or a section of the public, or

    (e)is designed seriously to interfere with or seriously to disrupt an electronic system.

    (3)The use or threat of action falling within subsection (2) which involves the use of firearms or explosives is terrorism whether or not subsection (1)(b) is satisfied.

    (4)In this section—

    (a)“action” includes action outside the United Kingdom,

    (b)a reference to any person or to property is a reference to any person, or to property, wherever situated,

    (c)a reference to the public includes a reference to the public of a country other than the United Kingdom, and

    (d)“the government” means the government of the United Kingdom, of a Part of the United Kingdom or of a country other than the United Kingdom.

    "

    1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
      IT Angle

      Re: Terrorism Act 2006

      Yes, but people here accused of terrorism still have the right to a fair trial, overseen by an independent judge with a 12 person jury where the evidence is heard by all parties and a defence entered for the accused.

      China .. national security panel consisting of judges appointed by the cheif exec( or the central government) , extradition to the mainland if the case is thought serious with no right of appeal

      Finally a section rather like the old article 58 of the USSR's criminal code that can be used to criminalise anything said or done by a protestor with penalties from 5yrs to life in jail.

      Give it 5 years and Hong Kong wil be just another big chinese city

      1. martinusher Silver badge

        Re: Terrorism Act 2006

        >Yes, but people here accused of terrorism still have the right to a fair trial,

        Many legal systems differ from the one used in the US and England. China adopted the 'Continental' (or Napoleonic) model where a case being developed by a prosecutor is overseen by a judge who determines whether there's enough evidence for a conviction. (Disclaimer - I'm no expert and I don't like the sound of it myself.)

        Where National Security is involved notions like 'fair trial' tend to go out the window. We all know about Mr. Assange's problems but there were several politically motivated show trials in the UK in the 1980s that were a travesty of justice. (Then there's the more recent case of some Spanish politicians who tried to hold a referendum about Catalan independence.....that wasn't very pretty....)

        Hong Kong isn't some remote island that geographically and culturally separate from China. Its part of China so you're not going to be able to destabilize the local government without invoking the wrath of the central government.

        1. DavCrav Silver badge

          Re: Terrorism Act 2006

          "China adopted the 'Continental' (or Napoleonic) model where a case being developed by a prosecutor is overseen by a judge who determines whether there's enough evidence for a conviction."

          No they haven't. They've adopted the 'Dictatorship' model where prosecutor, judge and executioner are all members of the same group. The judges are not independent of the Party. The prosecutors are not independent of the Party.

          To call it a Continental system is a cruel joke.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Terrorism Act 2006

          >Then there's the more recent case of some Spanish politicians who tried to hold a referendum about Catalan independence.....that wasn't very pretty....

          And it went downhill since then.

          The Supreme Court ruled illegal to display any non-official flags on public buildings some weeks ago. While the particular case on trial was unrelated to the Catalan issue, as the Spanish judicial system is so snail-paced this particular case began way before independence rallies began, everybody had in mind this was clearly targeted to Catalan independence flags and "Free political prisoners" banners fairly common on many public buildings around the region. Note that the current Catalan regional goverment president is awaiting another ruling that very probably will forcefully kick him out of office for the same reason.

          Cue last weekend when many LGTBI+ Pride demonstrations were held. Courts forbade town halls to display Rainbow flags because they're non-official, as per the aforementioned ruling.

      2. toejam

        Re: Terrorism Act 2006

        Those independent judges are the key point. Just look at several recent decisions by the US Supreme Court that sent President Trump into a frothy Twitter storm. He was especially angry at his own appointees that didn't rule the way he wanted (at least in public).

        I just don't see high ranking Chinese judges ruling in ways that would bring the same level of ire from the ruling party.

        1. martinusher Silver badge

          Re: Terrorism Act 2006

          >Just look at several recent decisions by the US Supreme Court that sent President Trump into a frothy Twitter storm.

          The most recent SCOTUS decision that sent the right wing into a meltdown was because Justice Roberts put judicial continuity above ideological purity. The case -- about abortion restrictions -- was essentially the same as one decided a couple of years ago. He remarked that while he agreed with the sentiment he didn't favor reversing settled decisions.

          The current administration has been working with the Federalist Society to get literally hundreds of idelogically reliable people appointed to the Federal bench, many of them not regarded as quaitified by the ABA. The criteria for appointment are ideological soundness and a relatively young age (they're lifetime appointments). (BTW -- One of the quirks of the US is that you don't have to have any legal qualifications to be appointed a judge.)

          I suspet that we've only been thrown in a tizzy because this law has put a stop to our dreams of a color revolution (we tried it -- yellow umbrellas -- remember?)

        2. EnviableOne Silver badge

          Re: Terrorism Act 2006

          If they did, then we wouldn't hear about it, or from them again ....

      3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Terrorism Act 2006

        "Yes, but people here accused of terrorism still have the right to a fair trial, overseen by an independent judge with a 12 person jury where the evidence is heard by all parties and a defence entered for the accused."

        It depends on "here" as there were the Diplock courts in NI where the judge also acted as a tribunal of fact. Even there, of course, the rest of the trial proceeded as normal. And one fo the features of the Diplock court was that the judge gave a reasoned argument as to how he arrived at his decision, something that juries never have to do.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Terrorism Act 2006

          And the Diplock courts were introduced primarily as a solution to the problem of getting an independent jury, in an environment where jurors would either vote with "their tribe", or vote according to the threats they received. Maybe not the best possible solution, but not one that can be compared with a single-party dictatorship.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Terrorism Act 2006

            "the Diplock courts were introduced primarily as a solution to the problem of getting an independent jury"

            Of course. But their use needed to be pointed out.

      4. Cynic_999 Silver badge

        Re: Terrorism Act 2006

        "

        Yes, but people here accused of terrorism still have the right to a fair trial, overseen by an independent judge with a 12 person jury where the evidence is heard by all parties and a defence entered for the accused.

        "

        No - terrorist offences are an exception where in certain cases guilt can be determined by judge only, and "in the interests of national security" evidence can be heard in secret with *not even the accused or his defence team* knowing what that evidence is.

        Not that a trial with judges instead of a jury is particularly unfair. In fact it can be far more fair than a jury trial in cases that are particularly emotive or partisan, because judges are trained to look at the facts objectively and not to make unevidenced inferences.

        I really fail to see any essential difference between our laws regarding terrorism and the new Chinese law.

        1. batfink Silver badge

          Re: Terrorism Act 2006

          You beat me to it Cynic - and it's that part about the evidence or basis of the accusation not being made available to the accused or his/her defence team that's horrifying here.

          IMO that kind of thing has no place in the UK, but it's here and it has been used.

          Having said that: it's whataboutery, and not in any way a defence of the Chinese approach.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A new secret police

    Article 16 provides for the creation of a Secret Police, nominally with the name (and reputation) of the HKPF, for however long that lasts. The head of the "department for safeguarding national security of the Hong Kong Police Force shall be appointed by the Chief Executive" who is, of course, a puppet of Beijing.

    And it is a PRC-manned agency, who may "recruit qualified professionals and technical personnel from outside the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region."

    Their duties are "enforcing", plus some other minor duties. They shall "observe the obligation of secrecy."

    DSNS, I guess, as an acronym, will become as infamous as NKVD, KGB, and SS.

    Long live free HK. Oops, sorry, wrong, it's already done for.

    1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

      Re: A new secret police

      "

      DSNS, I guess, as an acronym, will become as infamous as NKVD, KGB, and SS.

      "

      Or FBI, CIA, NCS, NCA, MI5, ATU, MOSSAD ... ?

      Just about all countries have their version of secret police - the UK is no exception. You may recall a recent court ruling where it was decided that it is perfectly legal for operatives in the UK security services to kill ("assasinate") a private citizen in the interests of national security. No trial or judicial oversight needed, and no need for any evidence to be assessed.

  9. IGotOut Silver badge

    Well that's going to confuse the Daily Mail.

    Got Brexit to keep out those bloody foreign folks kit.

    Now we're going to allow in 3 million asylum seekers. Although of course, they won't be using that term.

    Can't wait to see the editor's head explode.

  10. JassMan
    Flame

    Someone has a serious lack of sense of irony.

    Inciting hatred of China's central government and Hong Kong's regional government are now offences under Article 29

    Whoever decided this clause was a good idea has just made the case for the government to arrest itself. It is this law which is causing hatred of the government, not innocent HK people making chance remarks which can be twisted by secret police to make them guilty of thought crime.

    Oops, I guess I will now be arrested if I ever go to HK.

  11. Reginald Onway
    Unhappy

    The Sounds of Silence

    Pretty much tell how this is going to go over there. Too bad.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I adore this BS "we're wat above them"

    How fast we forgot how a certain three letter agency was flying detainees to some far-away countries where human rights could conveniently be put aside.

    Or how courts of law in some well established democracies would not disclose evidence to defendants and their lawyers for national security reasons. Just saying.

    1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

      Re: I adore this BS "we're wat above them"

      Ah - but many people think it's OK for *us* to do that because we will never do it without good reason. But when a country with a different culture does the same thing, then it's totally evil.

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: I adore this BS "we're wat above them"

        And many of us think that's terrible and we need to stop it, but it doesn't make a dictatorship any better. Many of us think that a fair trial is one of the most important parts of dealing with criminals, so if a few cases in our countries aren't treated fairly, it's a travesty. For those of us who believe that, imagine how those of us think about a country where no trials are fair and they also hold them all the time.

  13. Chris 216
    FAIL

    Ancent Union of Soviet Socialist Republics saying says...

    Failure is glacial.

    Collapse is slow.

    The end comes swiftly.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    leave the country

    Pretty much any citizen in HKG who is not comfortable in living in a totalitarian country,

    should just leave now.

    1. IGotOut Silver badge

      Re: leave the country

      A couple of questions.

      How do they leave? Bearing in mind you have to get off an island.

      And who will take these refugees, likely with no money or possessions? It's not like there is a huge track record of countries happily taking in millions of asylum seekers.

      1. batfink Silver badge

        Re: leave the country

        The UK will of course! Except, er, the UK apparently hates migrants and especially asylum-seekers.

        However, the UK govt has offered a Right of Residency for 5 years to some HK citizens ("up to" 3M has been reported). After the 5 years are up then those people can apply for UK citizenship.

        Please note the careful use of the word "apply". IMO this gives the UK a nice route out if we've made up with the Chinese govt in the intervening years. If the UK govt was serious, it should let these people apply for citizenship immediately.

        1. EnviableOne Silver badge

          Re: leave the country

          They will continue to have British National (Overseas) status and have 5 years leave to remain.

          After 5 years, with the status of British National (Overseas), literally all you have to do is prove that you lived in uk for 5 years and had BN(O) status, then you pay £1220 and get to be a British National (without the brackets)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Black Helicopters

            Re: leave the country

            I find your surfeit of faith disturbing.

  15. SkippyBing Silver badge

    Sanctions

    In my own small way I'd like to kick China where it hurts my buying as little as possible from Chinese companies or produced in Chinese factories. The former is relatively easy but the latter not so much. Does anyone know of a useful reference for finding out where things are actually produced?

    And yes I realise this means I may never be able to buy a phones again.

    1. EnviableOne Silver badge

      Re: Sanctions

      hmmm. .. dont ask the company trying to sell it to you.

      Apple products are proudly emblazoned "Assembeled in the USA" when under the hood, the screens are from vietnam, most of the electronics in china

  16. aki009

    No more visits to or flights via Hong Kong

    It seems to me that in the future it'll be important to just avoid Hong Kong entirely. They are now on the dark side.

    1. Cynic_999 Silver badge

      Re: No more visits to or flights via Hong Kong

      Or so the media has led you to believe. You do realise you are being manipulated?

      The West and 4 legs = good

      China and 2 legs = bad

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: No more visits to or flights via Hong Kong

        well, it is true that it's great to have a well-defined enemy. When people focus on how bad "they" are, people forget about those little pesky "issues" like brexits and minor compromises in privacy for the sake of public good, because "look at THEIR surveillance system!"

  17. Retro Man
    Meh

    How to get it wrong.

    I worked in HK for a couple years in the early 80's. (For the Far East Hydrofoil Company) and went back later to work for a shipping company for a short time. Life style was not expat at all, lived in a flat on Kowloon side, on the borders between Sham Shui and Sha Tin. It used to get overrun on big Race days !

    I enjoyed the fast pace, the friendliness of the people, the apparent ease you could get things done. I mean all I needed to get a job was a H-K ID card, a local bank account and some relevant qualifications. Everyone was incredibly polite if a little dogmatic to work with, but it generally worked well for them.

    They were fiercely Chinese and promoted their way of life and China in general over some western values and style of working. Not in an "our way is better than yours" but, "this is working for us" style.

    When HK was handed over, the vast majority of the Hong Kong population were up for it and looking forward to be part of China.

    What happened ? How has the mainland managed to alienate a significant percentage of the population who where pro Chinese so many years ago ? Why does the State need that overarching absolute control ? Why the change ? Why any change ? Because they can ?

  18. EnviableOne Silver badge

    other subjects "not fit for open trial"

    ok so anything the party says so ....

    If i was a BN(O) i'd be on the next transport option to UK

  19. Jonjonz

    WELL Duh...

    Well Duh, what exactly did you expect the totalitarian Chinese monolith to do when handed this territory on a silver platter.

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