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The National Security Law: Through the eyes of Maria Tam, and two of Hong Kong's non-Chinese residen


The National Security Law: Through the eyes of Maria Tam, and two of Hong Kong's non-Chinese residen

The controversial National Security Law is now on the statute books but considerable uncertainty remains as to how it will be implemented. Just an hour before midnight on July 1st, the details of the legislation were finally revealed and gazetted, taking immediate effect. Although Hong Kong’s has a bilingual legal system, there was no official English version when it was released. Chief Executive Carrie Lam and local officials freely admitted to having been left in the dark throughout the process.

The four groups of crimes covered by the law are secession, subversion, terrorist activities and collusion with foreign countries to endanger national security. The maximum penalty for all these crimes is a life sentence. The central government has established a national security office in Hong Kong while the HKSAR government has set up a new committee chaired by the Chief Executive, and containing an adviser appointed by Beijing. Both the police force and the judiciary will establish new units to handle cases. In some instances, Beijing will have jurisdiction and suspects will face trail on the mainland. The power of interpretation is vested in the National People’s Congress Standing Committee. With us to talk about the new legislation is Maria Tam, Vice-chairman of the Basic Law Committee.

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