China’s ruling Communist Party signaled on Thursday it is bringing Hong Kong further under its control, reports Washington Post, citing a top official.
Beijing has plans to change the system that previously allowed Hong Kong to maintain a level of autonomy for 23 years.
The Communist Party is enacting a national security law in the territory during a meeting of its top political arm, the Post reported. The law makes "foreign interference," secessionist activity and subversion of state power illegal, the newspaper said.
Why It's Important
In July 1997, Hong Kong was officially handed back to the Chinese authorities after more than 150 years of British control.
Tung Chee-hwa, who was a Shanghai-born former shipping tycoon with no political experience, was handpicked by Beijing to rule the territory following the takeover. Since then Hong Kong, has enjoyed more freedoms than mainland China.
In 2019, the former British colony’s political freedoms and independent legal system have been challenged, triggering pro-democracy and anti-government protests over a proposal to allow legal extradition to mainland China.
On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he is “closely watching what’s going on” in Hong Kong.
Pompeo has warned China, saying pro-democracy lawmakers were “manhandled” “while trying to stop a procedural irregularity by pro-Beijing legislators,” according to the Post.
Tensions between the U.S. and China have also been escalating.
On Wednesday, U.S. Sen. John Kennedy submitted the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act — a bill that requires Chinese companies to establish that they are not owned or controlled by a foreign government.