By Jerome Taylor and Su Xinqi (AFP)
9 hours earlier in World
The new base is situated in a rapidly converted hotel overlooking the city’s Victoria Park, a place that has hosted pro-democracy protests for years, including an annual vigil marking Beijing’s fatal Tiananmen crackdown.
A plaque bearing the security firm’s name was revealed early Wednesday in front of Hong Kong federal government and mainland authorities– consisting of Beijing’s top envoy to the city and the commander of the Chinese army barracks in Hong Kong.
Guests drive previous barriers near the Office for Safeguarding National Security of the Central People’s Federal government in the Hong Kong Unique Administrative Region after its official inauguration
Anthony WALLACE, AFP
City leader Carrie Lam– a pro-Beijing appointee– hailed the opening as “a historic minute” and said China’s intelligence apparatus would be an “essential partner” in helping to protect nationwide security.
Luo Huining, Beijing’s top envoy to Hong Kong, said the city had “bade farewell to the days when it was defenceless in national security”.
Beijing enforced the brand-new law on Hong Kong recently targeting acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and foreign collusion, in response to huge and frequently violent democracy protests that erupted last year.
The law is the most radical change in Hong Kong’s flexibilities and autonomy since Britain handed the city back to China in 1997.
Similar nationwide security laws are used to crush dissent on the mainland and police in Hong Kong have actually already arrested people voicing particular political views now considered illegal, such as advocating independence or greater autonomy.
– Spear suggestion of security apparatus –
The content of the security law was kept secret up until it was enacted last Tuesday, bypassing Hong Kong’s legislature.
China has stated it will have jurisdiction over the most severe cases, falling the legal firewall that has existed between its Communist Party-controlled courts and Hong Kong’s independent judiciary because the handover.
Amongst numerous precedent-setting arrangements in the law is authorisation for China’s security agents to work openly inside Hong Kong, with powers to investigate and prosecute nationwide security crimes.
Until now Hong Kong’s own authorities and judiciary had complete jurisdiction over the semi-autonomous finance hub.
However China argues nationwide security is the obligation of the central government and states the law is needed to bring back stability.
On the authoritarian mainland, China’s secret authorities are the spear suggestion of an extremely effective and callous security device that pursues critics and scrubs the general public sphere of dissent.
In his speech, Luo rejected criticism of the mainland legal system, saying “the Chinese mainland has a healthy legal system and a sound environment for the guideline of law”.
Observers have regularly raised issues about due procedure in the country, where the courts have a conviction rate of about 99 percent.
– New manager –
Last week Beijing designated Zheng Yanxiong to head up the agency. A party hardliner, Zheng is best known for his involvement in a clampdown against demonstrations throughout the border in neighbouring Guangdong province.
One of his deputies is Li Jiangzhou, an experienced public gatekeeper who has operated in the Intermediary Workplace, the body that represents Beijing in Hong Kong.
Little is understood about the other, Sun Qingye. Recently the South China Early morning Post explained Sun as a senior official from China’s intelligence firm, according to government sources.
The opening of the brand-new office comes little more than a day after Hong Kong revealed expanded search and monitoring powers for authorities investigating nationwide security crimes.
These guidelines also empower Hong Kong cops to buy web takedown notices if posts and remarks are considered to breach national security.