Patron: Her Excellency The Right Honourable Dame Patsy Reddy, GNZM, QSO, Governor-General of New Zealand

China’s New Hong Kong Security Law – a step closer to ‘one-country, one system’?

By Dr Anita Perkins

On the 30th June, a new law came into effect which extends power from China over Hong Kong. This new security law includes a number of provisions which aim to quash resistance to the Communist Party in Beijing. According to reports, the law was enacted primarily behind closed doors.

It has been viewed by commentators as an imposition of mainland Chinese law onto Hong Kong, with increased dominance and command from Beijing. “All in all, this is a takeover of Hong Kong,” the New York Times quoted an academic expert as saying.

Hong Kong was handed from British authorities to China in 1997. At that time, a ‘one-country, two systems’ structure was agreed to. In the face of intense pro-democracy political protests in Hong Kong, this recent development is seen as threatening liberties. It could be viewed as taking Hong Kong a step closer to a ‘one-country, one system’ legal and political foundation.

The New Zealand Government was criticised for not joining a statement made by the other five eyes nations – Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada – condemning the law. New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister, Winston Peters published a separate statement noting that “New Zealand remains deeply concerned at the imposition of this legislation on Hong Kong” and that he has instructed his officials to review the settings of New Zealand relationship with Hong Kong.

Read more detail in the articles and political statements below:

BBC: Hong Kong security law: What is it and is it worrying?

“China has passed a wide-ranging new security law for Hong Kong which makes it easier to punish protesters and reduces the city’s autonomy. Critics have called it “the end of Hong Kong” – so what do we know, and what do people fear the most?”

The New York Times: Harsh Penalties, Vaguely Defined Crimes: Hong Kong’s Security Law Explained

“The legislation grants Beijing broad powers to crack down on a variety of political crimes, including meting out life imprisonment for “grave” offenses. But the law is rife with ambiguities.”

Newsroom: NZ toughens stance on Hong Kong’s new security law

“NZ finally joins its Five Eyes partners in strongly opposing Hong Kong’s new national security law. While the Government reviews its relationship with Hong Kong (and quietly shifts on China) pro-CCP leaders in NZ praise the far-reaching legislation”.

US Department of State: Joint Statement on Hong Kong

“The text of the following statement was released by the Governments of the United States of America, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Signatories to this statement reiterate our deep concern regarding Beijing’s decision to impose a national security law in Hong Kong.”

Beehive – Rt Hon Winston Peters: New Zealand to review relationship settings with Hong Kong

“China’s decision to pass a new national security law for Hong Kong has fundamentally changed the environment for international engagement there,” Mr Peters said. “New Zealand remains deeply concerned at the imposition of this legislation on Hong Kong.”