Rule of Law

ABA is 'deeply concerned' by China’s new security law, saying it violates agreement with Hong Kong

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ABA President Judy Perry Martinez said Wednesday the ABA is “deeply concerned” by China’s new national security legislation, which is designed to curb anti-government demonstrations in Hong Kong.

The law, which went into effect Tuesday, ahead of the 23rd anniversary of China taking control of Hong Kong, broadly bans secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion.

The New York Times and CNN report that police have since arrested at least 300 protesters, including several suspected of breaking the new rules.

In a statement, Martinez said the legislation violates the “independence of Hong Kong’s legislature as guaranteed by the joint declaration agreement signed by China when the United Kingdom returned the region to China.”

She said it also violates the “basic law agreement between Hong Kong and China that introduced the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ principle.”

Under that principle, Hong Kong retains limited democracy and some civil liberties, which include the right to assembly, a free press and an independent judiciary, CNN reports.

“The ABA also is troubled that this law circumvents the legislature’s competency and authority to enact laws, including laws related to national security,” Martinez added. “The legislation undermines the power and authority of the [Hong Kong Special Administrative Region] to administer Hong Kong as stipulated in the basic law without interference by any department of the Central People’s Government.”

Martinez urged China to comply with its obligations under domestic and international law and to reaffirm its commitment to the rule of law, judicial independence and human rights in Hong Kong.

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