China passes Hong Kong security law, deepening fears for future

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China’s President Xi Jinping has signed into law a controversial national security legislation for Hong Kong that Beijing says is necessary to deal with separatism and foreign interference but critics say will outlaw dissent and destroy the autonomy promised when the territory was returned to China in 1997.

Details of the law – which comes in response to last year’s often-violent pro-democracy protests in the city – are due out later on Tuesday.

The legislation will come into effect when it is gazetted in Hong Kong – bypassing the semi-autonomous territory’s own legislature – and is expected to be in force by July 1, the anniversary of the former British territory’s return to Chinese rule.

“We hope the law will serve as a deterrent to prevent people from stirring up trouble,” said Tam Yiu-Chung, Hong Kong’s sole representative on the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, which approved the law on Tuesday morning.

Al Jazeera’s Adrian Brown reports.

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