Hong Kong marks handover anniversary under shadow of security law
Could Beijing finally getting it away and silencing Hong Kong's democracy protests once and for all the Chinese President Xi Jinping has signed off strict security laws, which critics say will place the likes of the right of free speech and an independent judiciary at risk. The law has already had an effect one of the leading voices in the pro democracy. Movement Joshua Wong said he's left. One protest group what I'm joined by Monocle Asia editor and Hong Kong Bureau Chief James Chambers by Isabel Hilton. The editor of China Dialogue Welcome both backed Monaco for twenty four at James, let's begin with you. You are in Hong. Kong whether has been A marking of the twenty three years since British rule ended. What's the atmosphere like today? Yes, what was meant to be called establishment day a day of celebration for Hong Kong returned back to mainland, but for a lot of people here it's a solemn day to protest against. Beijing and usually there's a big march that takes place around three PM Hong Kong time in about an hour and leave from Victoria in Causeway Bay and on March to the government headquarters that hasn't been given permission to go ahead to see the police because of the COVID, nineteen restrictions but there are people starting to gather in Causeway Bay. and the police have already made their first arrest under this new national security bill. On the question, we're all asking waiting to see how this bill would be enforced. And I guess the the worrying onset is. Enforced very harshly. The first arrest was a guy who's who had a flag that just said Hong Kong independence on it. So there's no doubt that the police are going to use their full powers under under this bill to dampen down any goals. For Hong Kong independence, and it's going to have a massive impact on the ability of of activists and pro democracy protests in Hong Kong. To to to operate as they have done. For the last twenty three years. Where unlikely to see a big march this year like we did in years before because the police on hand, the right police are on the ground and are very quick to to arrest people. Isabel. It's not long since we were all given the details of what's in this bill. Could you just summarize it for us? Please well indeed. I think almost nobody outside the National People's. Congress was given the details until after the bill was rushed through a rigorous fifteen minute session. it criminalizes any act of secessions, version, terrorism, or collusion with foreign are external forces. The problem with all of those is who decides Schwarzenegger as secessions, version, terrorism, glues, and and exchange, said the question of how the law will be enacted. Is ABS will be? We'll be applied is absolutely critical including which judges. How will the? How will the legal authorities in Hong Kong React Carrie, Lam has the opportunity to appoint judges that she chooses. And the bill, also the acts now also contains a rather sinister provision. Which says that in got his described as complicated cases at Beijing can simply takeover the prosecution of the law now again. All of this is is. Subject to subjective judgment from Beijing, Beijing designs what collusion with Foreign or external forces Beijing decides. What subversion is and Beijing, can prosecute cases? There is no guarantee that they will be held in. Public is provision for them not to be and. Given the state of of the rule of law in China. I think this is really really serious concern. It's also we should remember the. Legal State in Hong. Kong has been robust and widely respected and indeed lawyers have frequently taken to the streets to defend their. That profession and the application of the law in Hong Kong in very large demonstrations when they felt that Beijing. was encroaching on it, and so the capacity to appoint different judges to these cases is signed that I didn't think Beijing trusts Hong Kong's lawyers who are after school didn't principles of rule of law and equality before the law and all those good things. To do it's will.