HONG Kong is bracing for a fresh round of protests in June as top officials of China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) get ready to discuss the national security law for the city.
Protesters gathered on Friday in shopping malls in Kwun Tong and Central, singing Glory to Hong Kong and chanting slogans to demand democracy and an independent investigation into police misconduct. Riot police stood by outside.
To mark the 1st anniversary of the anti-extradition protests, some Hong Kong protesters are organizing a march on Hong Kong Island on June 9 and an assembly at Tamar Park in Central on June 12. However, the details have not been announced.
Beijing and Hong Kong protesters will also focus on whether the G7 will make a decision regarding Hong Kong’s national security law when it meets on June 10.
China is facing mounting international criticism over a planned security law for Hong Kong which would make it a crime to undermine Beijing’s authority in the territory.
The UK and US said at a private session of the UN Security Council that the law would curtail the city’s freedoms.
China, which blocked a formal meeting, warned the countries to “stop interfering”.
Hong Kong’s autonomy is guaranteed by the 1997 agreement under which it was returned to China from the UK.
It enjoys some freedoms – of the press and association – unseen in mainland China.
But there are fears the proposed law – which has sparked a wave of anti-mainland protests – could end Hong Kong’s unique status.
Australia, Canada and the EU have also criticised the security law and its implications for Hong Kong.
Taiwan’s parliament has backed a plan to offer sanctuary to people who want to flee Hong Kong, but China – which considers Taiwan to be part of its own territory – has warned the island not to get involved.
On Friday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian urged other countries to stop interfering in the matter.
“We will take necessary measures to resolutely counter the wrong acts of external forces interfering in Hong Kong affairs”, he said.
On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Congress that Hong Kong no longer merited special treatment under US law, potentially paving the way for it to be stripped of trading privileges such as lower tariffs than mainland China.
US media reports that President Trump is considering a range of sanctions. These could include strong measures such as stripping Hong Kong of its trading privileges or milder options such as restricting visas and freezing the assets of Chinese officials.