“First, Beijing does not believe that security law can make it through HK’s Legco, at least not without a major political storm, and second, protests and dissent has made the legislation of this law more urgent.”
Maya Wang, senior China researcher for Human Rights Watch, also described the “alarming” move as “the end of Hong Kong”.
“#HongKong has been the safe harbor for dissent; it’s the light, the conscience, the voice that speaks truth to an increasingly powerful China,” she tweeted.
The US Congress late last year angered China by passing a law that would strip Hong Kong’s preferential trading status if it is no longer considered autonomous from the mainland.
The State Department warned Thursday that China’s actions could impact its decision on that status.
US senators on Thursday also introduced legislation to impose sanctions on any entity involved in curbing Hong Kong’s autonomy.
That could include police cracking down on demonstrators and Chinese officials involved in Hong Kong policy — as well as banks that conduct transactions with anyone involved in curbing the territory’s freedoms.
Senator Pat Toomey, who spearheaded the legislation, described Hong Kong as “the canary in the coal mine for Asia”.
“Beijing’s growing interference could have a chilling effect on other nations struggling for freedom in China’s shadow,” he said.
by Jing Xuan Teng with Xinqi Su in Hong Kong