A government advertisement promoting Beijing's proposed national security law is displayed on the city hall building in Hong Kong on June 29, 2020.

Report: China bypasses Hong Kong’s National Security Law

The top legislature in Beijing, the National People’s Congress, passed the law unanimously Tuesday morning local time, bypassing the Hong Kong Legislative Council, through a rare-used constitutional back door, Depending on To Hong Kong Public Radio RTHK, citing unnamed sources.

The state-run Xinhua news agency said in the past that the law would criminalize crimes such as separation, vandalism against the Chinese central government, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces.

The draft law was not announced before it was passed, meaning that most people in Hong Kong have not seen the details of a law that rules their lives now.

The promulgation of the law has not been officially confirmed, and details remain unclear. But RTHK reports that the potential maximum threshold for crimes under the law would be “much higher” than 10 years in prison.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam declined to comment on the progress of the bill at its weekly press conference Tuesday morning, saying it would be “inappropriate” to answer questions while the NPC meeting is still going on.

Lawmakers widely criticized legislation widely in Hong Kong, human rights groups and politicians around the world, as many said the law would strengthen Beijing’s direct control of the semi-independent city. Many fear that the law could be used to target political dissidents, a fear stemming from China’s judicial record.

The passage of the law comes a day before July 1, the anniversary of Hong Kong’s transition from British colonial rule to China in 1997. It has become an annual day of protests in the city, but for the first time since the police did not hand over extradition to protesters to organize peaceful demonstrations.

This is a growing story

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