“The Return of Excessive Policing in Hong Kong”
Hualing Fu & Xiaobo Zhai
in The Nationwide Safety Regulation of Hong Kong: Restoration and Transformation,
Chapter 9, pp. 187-210
Introduction: “What a shame!” lamented Xia Baolong, Director of the Workplace for Hong Kong and Macau Affairs, the highest-ranking official within the Central Individuals’s Authorities (CPG) answerable for Hong Kong affairs in a very condescending outburst to sentence the 2019 protests in Hong Kong. That is how Beijing, Hong Kong’s sovereign, perceived what occurred in Hong Kong in 2019. For the CPG, what was offered as democratic protest by the worldwide media was nothing in need of systematic dysfunction and arranged violence bordering on revolt. What was surprising and intensely displeasing for the CPG was not solely the extent of violence and vandalism that some Hong Kong individuals proved to be able to, but additionally the diploma of sympathy and help they obtained from the bigger communities in Hong Kong and internationally, and the incompetence and indifference of the Hong Kong authorities. Within the CPG’s eyes, Hong Kong has turned from an financial asset right into a political legal responsibility. Extra importantly, the CPG believed that the unrest in Hong Kong uncovered China to hostile worldwide forces and put China’s nationwide safety at grave danger.
The mass unrest creates the necessity – it additionally affords a possibility – for the CPG to react forcefully and strongly to place violence to an finish and to revive legislation and order. Its sharp and drastic motion has taken the type of legislative suppression – the passing of the Regulation of the Individuals’s Republic of China for Safeguarding Nationwide Safety within the Hong Kong Particular Administrative Area (NSL). The legislation goals each on the speedy targets of “stopping, stopping and punishing” actions endangering nationwide safety and the long-term aim of adjusting the constitutional construction of Hong Kong. The legislation creates a spread of latest prison offences, usually broadly outlined to solid a large web in opposition to offences probably endangering nationwide safety, exceeding China’s personal prison legislation for a number of the offences in its breadth. It establishes an internet of nationwide safety businesses with interlocking jurisdictions and duties with Beijing sitting at a snug, commanding peak. The NSL expands police energy and correspondingly both ousts or limits judicial authorities at a number of entry factors, starting from proscribing bail, excluding juries and enhancing secrecy in judicial proceedings. Past the speedy influence, the NSL makes an attempt to deal with the basis reason behind the nationwide safety dangers as China perceives them in Hong Kong – a vibrant and politically charged civil society comprising non-governmental sectors, reminiscent of schooling, the media, the web, faith or NGOs that had been in opposition to the federal government. By the NSL, excessive policing has returned to Hong Kong.
This chapter affords a preliminary research of the position and capabilities of the excessive policing, additionally known as political or nationwide safety policing, which the NSL has launched in Hong Kong and its preliminary and long-term influence on the rule of legislation and rights and freedoms in Hong Kong. The position that the political policing performs in Hong Kong largely relies upon upon the last word political finish of the NSL. Past the speedy aim of ending violence, nipping the pro-independence motion within the bud, and stopping overseas political meddling in Hong Kong, to what diploma does the CPG intend to reorient Hong Kong and to deliver it into the Chinese language orbit? Clearly, China continues to insist on the One Nation Two Programs doctrine (OCTS), though to be enforced in a “appropriate manner” that privileges its one nation ingredient. China, nevertheless, doesn’t intend to show it into simply one other Chinese language metropolis. In considered one of his speeches in 2017, President Xi Jinping highlighted Hong Kong’s “distinctive strengths”, together with its pluralist and cosmopolitan society and its standing as a serious worldwide monetary centre. China clearly stopped far quick from imposing its personal Nationwide Safety Regulation (2015) upon Hong Kong, nor did it transplant its personal nationwide safety observe in its entirety to Hong Kong. In enacting the NSL, China despatched a transparent sign that, whereas the surplus in 2019 shouldn’t occur once more, Hong Kong will stay a definite Particular Administrative Area (SAR) within the foreseeable future. There’s a lengthy spectrum between the unrest in 2019 and the Chinese language regime of nationwide safety: the place would Hong Kong discover itself within the post-NSL period?
This chapter explores three linked points: 1) the political circumstances for the creation of the nationwide safety policing in Hong Kong; 2) the key options of the excessive policing that the NSL has created in Hong Kong, that are demonstrated by the use of an evaluation of the NSL, and the speedy influence that the NSL could have on the rule of legislation and rights and freedoms in Hong Kong; and three) a potential new equilibrium between the nationwide safety policing and Hong Kong’s liberal rule of legislation below the OCTS doctrine.