This came as a shock to the people of Hong Kong, as laws in the city typically went through the legislative council—half of which is publicly elected—before becoming law. Now Beijing was using its rubber-stamp legislature to pass the plan, while China’s Standing Committee will write the law and put it into effect in a few months. The move—for Hong Kong’s people and also for its churches—is a menacing one.
“This is the end of Hong Kong, this is the end of ‘one country, two systems,’” said pro-democracy lawmaker Dennis Kwok in May. “Beijing has completely breached its promise to the Hong Kong people. … I foresee that the international status as a city—an international city—will be gone very soon.”
The new law would allow Beijing to set up security forces in Hong Kong to clamp down on pro-democracy protesters and could essentially silence dissent.
The United States has announced it would strip Hong Kong of its special economic status as it no longer retained enough autonomy to justify treatment different from mainland China. Some pro-democracy activists hope this will cause China to count the cost of stripping Hong Kong of its freedoms, however Beijing seems to have no problem turning the international financial hub into just another Chinese city.
Several groups of Christians from different denominations have sent out open letters to condemn the national security law: A group of about 800 Methodists signed a statement calling on the China’s central government to “respect the commitments of the international human rights conventions and the Basic Law, listen to different opinions from all walks of life, and reconsider the drafting of [the National Security Law] to avoid putting Hong Kong into a more serious situation.”
A group of Anglicans responded to statements by Archbishop Paul Kwong, who is a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and a supporter of the national security law. The open letter, signed by more than 250 church members, noted the new law ignores the promises of the Sino-British Joint Declaration and “as loyal Anglican believers, we must say ‘no’ to such violent power and injustice.” It added Kwong’s viewpoint “did not represent the position of all Hong Kong Anglicans.”