China

Chinese Media Pressure Hong Kong To Pass ‘Anti-Secession Legislation’

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Hong Kong, Golden Bauhinia Square (image by Tksteven, via Wikimedia Commons)

On September 9, China Review News Agency (CRNA), a pro-Beijing Hong Kong-based website, urged the Hong Kong government to pass ‘anti-secession’ legislation in order to prosecute advocates of Hong Kong independence.

The Hong Kong independence movement emerged from the failure of the 2014 Umbrella Revolution, a pro-democracy protest aimed at achieving universal suffrage in China‘s Special Administrative Region. The Communist central government, however, dismissed calls for democratization and vehemently refused to yield to the protesters’ demands.

An article published by CRNA, later endorsed by mainland Chinese media, urged the Hong Kong government to enact anti-secession laws which would allow the authorities to prosecute individuals and groups who advocate Hong Kong independence.

The piece cites Article 23 of the Hong Kong Basic Law:

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall enact laws on its own to prohibit any act of treason, secession, sedition, subversion against the Central People’s Government, or theft of state secrets, to prohibit foreign political organizations or bodies from conducting political activities in the Region, and to prohibit political organizations or bodies of the Region from establishing ties with foreign political organizations or bodies.

In 2003 about half a million people took to the streets to protest against the enactment of a relevant national security law. The government at that time gave in to popular pressure. However, national security legislation has remained a priority for Beijing.

According to CRNA, passing anti-secession laws “would not only greatly intimidate people suspected of these crimes [secession, treason, sedition, subversion], but also … teach the Hong Kong people, especially young people, to love and protect the country, and strengthen the consciousness of ‘one China’.”

“A few people think that secession, instigating rebellion and toppling the central government are all within the scope of freedom of speech,” the piece continues. “But because each country’s historical development is different, so their legal system cannot be the same.”

The article cites as an example German legislation that prohibits the “use of symbols of unconstitutional organizations” outside of the contexts of “art or science, research or teaching”. The German law aims at preventing the dissemination of unconstitutional ideology, chiefly National Socialism, but in general of totalitarian and anti-democratic political thought.

The article concludes by appealing to Chinese ‘patriotism’ as defined by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP):

Hong Kong was ceded to the United Kingdom and became one of its far-eastern colonies. After the handover, in order to heal the wounds of history, patriotism ought to be propagated through legislation. Only by doing so can the Hong Kong people be taught not to forget history, only by doing so can we work hard for the prosperity of the country. Under no circumstances shall we forget the historical shame of our humiliation and loss of territory. We should always hold high the banner of patriotism and prohibit any individual or organization in Hong Kong from engaging in separatist activities.

Since Chinese President Xi Jinping took office in 2012, Beijing has stalled all democratic reforms in Hong Kong and signalled that it would abolish the ‘one country, two systems’ framework if it endangered national security.

Read: Why Hong Kong’s ‘One Country, Two Systems’ Was Doomed to Fail

How The Arab Spring Fuelled China’s Maoist Revival


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