THE ARMOURED vehicles of China’s security forces have not rolled onto Hong Kong’s streets, as last year officials in Beijing hinted they might amid
THE ARMOURED vehicles of China’s security forces have not rolled onto Hong Kong’s streets, as last year officials in Beijing hinted they might amid anti-government turmoil in the territory. But late in May Chinese officials may have done more than their troops would have to kill the notion of a “high degree of autonomy” in Hong Kong, which was promised when it returned to China in 1997. As Chinese legislators gathered in the capital for an annual, coronavirus-delayed meeting, the body’s standing committee dropped a bombshell.
The committee said it had reached a “decision” that China would impose a national-security law on Hong Kong. The territory’s own legislature would have no role in drafting it. The bill would prevent and punish “any conduct that seriously endangers national security”, including separatism, subversion of state power, terrorism and “activities by foreign and overseas forces” that “interfere” in Hong Kong’s affairs. It could be promulgated in Hong Kong as early as late June.
America is not waiting. On May 27th its secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, declared that “facts on the ground” showed Hong Kong was no longer autonomous. This opens a new front in the intensifying struggle between China and America. Mr Pompeo’s words mean that what many businesses in Hong Kong had once treated as unthinkable is becoming more possible. Namely,…