HONG KONG—Dozens of people protested in a mall in Hong Kong on Friday following a vote by Chinas ceremonial parliament to approve legislation that could severely restrict opposition political activity and civil society in the Asian financial center.
The protesters chanted slogans in the main atrium of the mall in the high-end Central district, some draping banners over the balconies with slogans such as “Independence for Hong Kong.”
Police waited in vans parked prominently outside the mall but did not attempt to break up the gathering. Hundreds of people have been arrested during recent demonstrations that seek to revive the momentum of protests that shut down large parts of the city during the second half of last year.
Chinas National Peoples Congress on Thursday voted to approve the bill that will now be sent to its standing committee for final approval. Details of the final version of the law arent known, but China says it will prohibit separatist activities and actions that might threaten the Communist Partys monopoly on political power in mainland China.
Beijing and its supporters in Hong Kong are defending the legislative move against criticism from foreign countries, including the United States, which has threatened to revoke special trade privileges granted to the former British colony when it was handed over to China in 1997 under a “one country, two systems” framework in which it was guaranteed its own political, legal, social, and legal institutions for 50 years.
In Beijing, foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said China would not tolerate any interference in what it considers a strictly internal matter.
“We advise the U.S. side to have a correct understanding of the situation and stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs and Chinas internal affairs. If the U.S. insists on jeopardizing Chinas interests, China will definitely take all necessary measures to fight back.”
Tensions between the administration of President Donald Trump and China are already high over trade, human rights, Chinas threats against Taiwan, and the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump says he intends to make an announcement about China on Friday and officials say he is considering a proposal to revoke the visas of Chinese students affiliated with educational institutions in China that are linked to the Peoples Liberation Army or Chinese intelligence.
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen on Friday visited a Hong Kong bookstore that re-opened in Taipei after its part-owner was abducted to the Chinese mainland, in a show Read More – Source