After the so-called “national security” law for Hong Kong was approved by China’s rubber-stamp legislature the National People’s Congress (NPC), many are concerned over the future of Hong Kong’s elections, currently scheduled for Sept. 6.
U.S. State Secretary Mike Pompeo said on June 1 that the United States is worried that if Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam cancels the elections or postpones them “that there would be violence or something like that, which is just unfounded.”
“The Hong Kongers have held successful elections for years and years, so we are urging Hong Kong to continue to move forward for those,” he said during an interview with American Enterprise Institute (AEI).
If Lam decides not to hold the legislative elections it will be perceived “as really the final nail in the coffin with respect to any pretense that Hong Kong … the financial center that it is, the freedom that the people have there, the ability to speak their mind that the people have had in Hong Kong for all these years, that will be gone,” Pompeo said.
The United States’ response will recognize that the change was “driven not by British policy, not by American policy, not by U.N. policy, but by the policy of the Chinese Communist Party,” Pompeo said.
Joshua Wong—the iconic activist from Hong Kong’s 2014 Umbrella Movement and secretary-general of pro-democracy party Demosistō—told AEI in an interview (pdf) on May 12 that since the pro-democracy camp in Hong Kong won 85 percent of the seats in local district council elections “it is possible for the pro-democracy camp to take the majority in the Hong Kong Legislative Council” as well.
Wong is concerned that the new national security law may allow Beijing to “just override the principle of procedural justice and to disqualify as many candidates as they can” in the upcoming election.
“Some of the youngsters, including me and Agnes Chow from Demosistō, applied to run for office, but being censored out from the ballot, and we are not allowed to run for office,” Wong said.
On May 28 the NPC passed the draft resolution on the new law for Hong Kong, amid international criticism about how the Communist Party’s proposal would destroy the former British colony’s autonomy and its people’s basic freedoms.
The approval of the new security law which will allow Chinese security agencies to operate in Hong Kong paves the way for the NPC’s standing committee to draft details of the legislation before it is added to the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s mini-constitution. By adding it to the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s legislature will not have a chance to scrutinize the legislation.
The law would ban acts and activities in connection to secession, subversion, and terrorism, as well as activities related to foreign interference.
Frank Fang contributed to this report.