Hong Kong Bar Association 'gravely concerned' by security law

What you need to know about China's new national security law for Hong Kong

Hong Kong's Bar Association has said it is "gravely concerned" by Beijing imposing a sweeping security law on the financial hub, warning the broadly worded legislation undermines the city's independent judiciary and stifles freedoms.

In a statement, Martinez said the legislation violates the "independence of Hong Kong's legislature as guaranteed by the joint declaration agreement signed by China when the United Kingdom returned the region to China".

"With hostile forces in and outside of Hong Kong colluding with each other in recent years, the absence of relevant legal system and enforcement mechanisms ... has created major risks for China's national security", China's official state-run news agency Xinhua said in a commentary.

Most members of the global community fully understand and respect China's legitimate and lawful act to safeguard national security, Zhao said, adding their just voice shows again that people have no problem telling right from wrong.

Japan's Nikkei rose 0.4%, China's blue-chip index added 0.6% while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index climbed 1.7%.

Noting that a tiny number of external elements, with ulterior motives, have been meddling in this under the pretext of human rights, he said nothing can cover up their arrogance, prejudice and real intention to flagrantly interfere in China's internal affairs.

The legislation is aimed at curbing subversive, secessionist and terrorist activities, as well as foreign intervention in the city's affairs.

Luo Huining, the head of Beijing's top representative office in Hong Kong, said at the ceremony the law was a "common aspiration" of Hong Kong citizens.

As of February, there were almost 350,000 BNO passport holders, while the government estimated there are around 2.9 million BNOs living in Hong Kong.

As thousands of protesters gathered for an annual rally marking the anniversary of the former British colony's handover to China in 1997, riot police used pepper spray and fired pellets as they made arrests after crowds spilled into the streets chanting "resist till the end" and "Hong Kong independence".

The U.S. has already issued visa restrictions on any officials believed to be responsible for Hong Kong oppression, and the U.S. has ended all exports of "defense equipment and dual-use technology".

Opprobrium over the law poured in from critics and western governments - led by the United States and Britain - over fears the law will usher in a new era of mainland-style political repression.

On Monday, the United States began eliminating Hong Kong's special status under USA law, halting defence exports and restricting the territory's access to advanced technology as retaliation for the move.

Does China have the right to pass this law?

In response to the new law, Taiwan opened an office in Taipei on Wednesday to assist people fleeing Hong Kong, with a senior minister saying Taiwan hoped to attract talent and capital from the city.

"It is a law that is really with the explicit intention of bypassing the Hong Kong legislature", she said. Beijing condemned the protests as an attempt to permanently split Hong Kong away from China. The Hong Kong government only published the fully detailed text to reveal the extent of its powers after it came into effect last night.

For laws added to Annex III to become official, they must either be passed by the Hong Kong government, or through promulgation, which is done by Hong Kong's chief executive issuing a legal notice in the Government Gazette.

He said: "We think the majority will probably hunker down in Hong Kong, and others would leave to other countries in the region".



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