A sweeping national security law for Hong Kong prohibiting acts of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces to endanger national security, was passed unanimously by China’s top legislative body on Tuesday.
The law, approved by the National People’s Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC), is expected to carry a maximum penalty of life in jail, reports the South China Morning Post (SCMP) newspaper.
Sources told the SCMP that the law was approved unanimously by the standing committee’s 162 members, within 15 minutes of the meeting that started at 9 a.m.
On Sunday, the NPCSC began a special meeting fast-tracking the bill, which was passed on the last day of the three-day session.
The Post was told that the Basic Law Committee, which advises Beijing on Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, would meet “immediately after the standing committee passed the law to discuss its insertion into Annex III of the Basic Law”.
All Hong Kong delegates to the nation’s top advisory body, the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, and the NPC, have been asked to attend a meeting, believed to be a briefing on the bill, at the central government’s liaison office on Tuesday afternoon.
The law is expected to come into effect on July 1, the 23rd anniversary of the city’s handover to China from British rule, according to the newspaper.
Passage of the controversial legislation came a day after China announced visa restrictions on US officials who have “behaved extremely badly” over Hong Kong.
Beijing and Washington had been locked in an escalating diplomatic row over the year-long Hong Kong protests and the national security law.
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