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Hong Kong Passes New Hard-Line National Security Law, Further Aligning Territory with Beijing

HeadlineMar 21, 2024

In Hong Kong, lawmakers unanimously passed a new national security law that further cracks down on dissent and free speech. Article 23 expands the definition of certain offenses and targets treason, insurrection, sabotage, external interference, theft of state secrets and espionage. It also allows for closed-door trials and imposes harsher penalties, including life imprisonment in some cases. The bill’s passage marks a major defeat for pro-democracy activists and critics of Beijing’s tightening grip on Hong Kong.

In related news, a Hong Kong court on Saturday sentenced 12 people to prison terms of six to seven years after they were convicted of rioting when they stormed the city’s legislature during the 2019 pro-democracy uprising. Hundreds of protesters breached and vandalized the government building on July 1, 2019, the 22nd anniversary of Britain’s handover of Hong Kong to China.

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