China Passes Feared Hong Kong Security Law
China passed a sweeping national security law for Hong Kong on Tuesday, a historic move that critics and many western governments fear will smother the finance hub's freedoms and hollow out its autonomy.
The legislation was unanimously approved by China's rubber-stamp parliament on Tuesday morning, little more than six weeks after it was first unveiled, sending shockwaves through semi-autonomous Hong Kong and beyond.
The United States, Britain, the European Union and the United Nations rights watchdog have all voiced fears the law could be used to stifle criticism of Beijing, which wields similar laws on the authoritarian mainland to crush dissent.
In an unprecedented decision, the law bypassed Hong Kong's fractious legislature and the wording was kept secret from the city's 7.5 million inhabitants.
"The national security law for Hong Kong was officially passed by the National People's Congress Standing Committee today," the DAB, Hong Kong's largest pro-Beijing party, said in a statement on Tuesday welcoming the law.