Nepal | August 04, 2020

Hong Kong inaugurates Beijing’s national security office

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Share Now:

HONG KONG: Beijing’s national security office was inaugurated in Hong Kong on Wednesday, just over a week after China’s central government imposed a tough new law on the city that critics view as a further deterioration of freedoms promised to the former British colony.

The inauguration came as Hong Kong’s education bureau announced Wednesday that schools must not allow students to play, sing or broadcast the protest anthem “Glory to Hong Kong” because it contains political messages. Last week, the city criminalized the pro-democracy slogan “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our time” under the new national security law, which took effect on June 30.

From left, Director of the Liaison Office and National Security Adviser to the Committee for Safeguarding National Security in Hong Kong Luo Huining, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, former Hong Kong Chief Executives Tung Chee-hwa and Leung Chun-ying and head of the Office for Safeguarding National Security in Hong Kong Zheng Yanxiong attend an opening ceremony for the China’s new Office for Safeguarding National Security in Hong Kong, Wednesday, July 8, 2020. Photo: Hong Kong Government Information Services via AP

The national security law prohibits what Beijing views as secessionist, subversive or terrorist activities or as foreign intervention in the semi-autonomous territory’s internal affairs.

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam joined her predecessors Leung Chun-ying and Tung Chee-hwa in marking the opening of the Office for Safeguarding National Security in Hong Kong. Chinese Communist Party officials were also present, and security was tight.

Following a flag-raising ceremony, at which the Chinese flag was hoisted outside the office, Lam and the former Hong Kong leaders unveiled a plaque bearing the name of the new agency. Officials present then congratulated one another on the opening.

Under the national security law, police now have sweeping powers to conduct searches without warrants and order internet service providers and platforms to remove messages deemed to be in violation of the legislation.

Critics see the law as Beijing’s boldest move yet to erase the divide between Hong Kong’s Western-style system and mainland China’s authoritarian way of governing.

The fear is that the law erodes the special freedoms enjoyed in Hong Kong, which has operated under a “one country, two systems” framework since China took control of the city from Britain in 1997. That arrangement has allowed Hong Kong’s people freedoms not permitted in mainland China, such as public dissent and unrestricted internet access.

After the law was imposed, a slew of tech companies, including Facebook, Google and Twitter, said they would stop processing requests from law enforcement officials for user data in Hong Kong, as they assess the ramifications of the law.

On Wednesday, Microsoft and Zoom said they would take similar action.

TikTok announced Tuesday that it would stop operations of its app in Hong Kong, and by Tuesday the app could not be downloaded from Hong Kong’s Apple and Google app stores.

At a lawmakers panel on Tuesday, pro-democracy lawmakers grilled Hong Kong’s secretaries for security and justice over the law and its implementation rules.

Pro-democracy lawmaker Jeremy Tam held up a blank white piece of paper — a move often used by demonstrators to protest against what they call the “white terror” of silencing political dissidence — and asked if doing do contravened the new security law. Other lawmakers followed suit. Tam did not manage to get an answer to his question before time was up.


Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

NASA astronauts make historic return home aboard SpaceX capsule

US astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, who flew to the International Space Station in SpaceX's new Crew Dragon, splashed down in the capsule in the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday after a two-month voyage that was NASA's first crewed mission from home soil in nine years. Behnken and Hurley, Read More...

Media urged to refrain from brewing controversy over court verdict, order

Media criticism of verdicts erodes faith in the judiciary Kathmandu, August 2 Nepal Bar Association today issued a press release urging media outlets to maintain restraint about court verdicts. It also said a court should not pass an order or a verdict that creates controversy. “NBA’s ser Read More...

TUTH. Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital, Teaching Hospital, Maharajgunj

COVID patient recovers after plasma therapy

KATHMANDU, AUGUST 2 Plasma therapy was used for the first time in the country to successfully treat a 60-year-old coronavirus patient, in Kathmandu, earlier this week. The procedure was performed at Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital, Maharajgunj. “The patient, a resident of Biratnagar, Read More...

Call to grant rights to reopen schools to local levels

Kathmandu, August 2 The government has been advised to come up with a procedure to pass on the right to reopen schools that have remained closed due to the COVID-19, to respective local governments and schools. While Ministry of Education, Science and Technology is preparing to bring a work pr Read More...

‘People’s voice will be suppressed if journalists lose their jobs’

Kaski, August 2 President of Federation of Nepali Journalists Govinda Acharya said actions such as relieving journalists of their jobs, providing half salary and exerting pressure on them to stay on leave without payment would suppress the voice of the people. During an interaction here today, Read More...

25 per cent tourism workers return to work

Pokhara, August 2 After relaxation of the lockdown to contain COVID-19, normalcy is beginning to return in the tourism sector with workers in this sector starting to return to work after four months of shutdown. Pokhara Tourism Council said 25 per cent workers associated with the tourism indus Read More...

Police vital for ensuring peace: CM Gurung

Pokhara, August 2 Gandaki Province Chief Minister Prithivi Subba Gurung today said that Gandaki Province Police Office had to play a significant role in enforcing peace and controlling crime. CM Gurung handed over keys of vehicles provided by the provincial government to Gandaki Province P Read More...

Snakebite patients up in Bheri Hospital

Nepalgunj, August 2 The number of snakebite patients has increased in Nepalgunj-based Bheri Hospital of late. Snakebite patients were admitted to the emergency and ICU wards after their numbers surged with the beginning of monsoon. As many as 10 to 15 snakebite patients reach the hospital f Read More...