China on Tuesday approved a contentious national security law for Hong Kong that takes direct aim at the actions of anti-government protesters last year, in a move many see as Beijing’s boldest yet to erase the legal firewall between the semi-autonomous territory and the mainland’s authoritarian Communist Party.
Details of the law remained under wraps until 11 p.m. (11:00 a.m. ET), when it was published and took effect immediately.
The text specifies that any person taking part in secessionist activities, whether organizing or participating, would violate the law regardless of whether violence is used.
Those who destroy government facilities and utilities would be considered subversive. Damaging public transportation facilities and arson would constitute acts of terrorism.
The law took effect an hour before July 1, the 23rd anniversary of the territory’s passing from Britain to China. Amid protests in Hong Kong last year, demonstrators broke into the legislative building on the anniversary, spray-painted slogans on the walls and damaged