China’s legislative body has adopted the Law of the People's Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR).
Chinese lawmakers on Tuesday voted to adopt the "landmark" law on safeguarding national security in Hong Kong.
The law was passed unanimously at the 20th session of the Standing Committee of the 13th National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature.
President Xi Jinping signed a presidential order to promulgate the law, which goes into effect on the date of promulgation.
With 66 articles in six chapters, the law clearly defines the duties and government bodies of the HKSAR for safeguarding national security and four categories of offences -- secession, subversion, terrorist activities, and collusion with a foreign country or external elements to endanger national security -- and their corresponding penalties.
According to the law, the central government will set up an office in the HKSAR for safeguarding national security.
The HKSAR will establish a committee for safeguarding national security, which is under the supervision of and accountable to the central government. To be chaired by the HKSAR chief executive, the committee shall have a national security adviser designated by the central government. The Hong Kong police force will also set up a department for safeguarding national security, according to the law.
After the law was passed, the NPC Standing Committee consulted its HKSAR Basic Law Committee and the HKSAR government, and adopted on Tuesday afternoon, by a unanimous vote, a decision to list the law in Annex III to the HKSAR Basic Law.
The newly-adopted decision stipulates that the law shall be applied locally in the HKSAR by way of promulgation by the region.
HKSAR Chief Executive Carrie Lam said in a statement that the HKSAR government welcomes the passage of the law.
"I am confident that after the implementation of the national security law, the social unrest which has troubled Hong Kong people for nearly a year will be eased and stability will be restored, thereby enabling Hong Kong to start anew, focus on economic development and improve people's livelihood," she said.
Addressing the closing meeting of the NPC Standing Committee session, Li Zhanshu, chairman of the NPC Standing Committee, said the unanimous passage of the law and the decision has reflected the common will of the Chinese people including Hong Kong compatriots.
Stressing that national security, social stability and the order of rule of law are the premises of the development of Hong Kong, Li said the legislation represents the aspirations of the people and an irresistible trend of the times.
In a statement, the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council voiced firm support for the law, calling it a "milestone" event that will usher in a turning point for Hong Kong to end chaos and bring back order.
Nearly 2.93 million Hong Kong residents earlier signed a petition in support of the national security legislation during an eight-day campaign starting May 24.
The Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council said in its statement that for a tiny number of people endangering national security, the law will be a "sharp sword" hanging over their heads.
But for the vast majority of Hong Kong residents including foreigners in Hong Kong, the law will be a "guardian" that protects their rights, freedoms and peaceful life, said the office.
According to the law, people convicted of the national security crimes could face up to life imprisonment.
Convicted criminals will be disqualified from running for public office, and people in public office who are found guilty of the crimes will be removed from their posts.
The United States is "not in total control" of the coronavirus pandemic and COVID-19 cases in the country go up to 100,000 per day if the current trend "does not turn around," Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government's top infectious-diseases expert, said on Tuesday.
Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that the country is "going in the wrong direction" as the number of COVID-19 cases increases across the nation.
"I can't make an accurate prediction, but it's going to be very disturbing," Fauci told senators in a hearing held by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
"We are now having 40-plus thousand new cases a day. I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around. And so I am very concerned," he said.
Fauci stressed that he could not make an estimation on deaths as those would need to be modeled.
His comments came as the number of new cases reported each day in the United States is outpacing that of April, when the pandemic rocked Washington state and other parts of the country, especially the New York City area.
More than 2.6 million COVID-19 cases have been reported in the country with the fatalities surpassing 127,000 as of Tuesday afternoon, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
Fauci warned that some states are "skipping over" checkpoints in the federal reopening guidelines and that this is leading to new hotspots in states like Texas, Florida and Arizona.
According to Fauci, about 50 percent of all new cases are coming from four states: Florida, California, Texas and Arizona.
The outbreaks in various parts of the country put "the entire country at risk" and "clearly we don't have this under control," Fauci added.
He said that even states and localities that "did it right" regarding reopening still have individuals who engaged in an "all or none phenomenon", disregarding social-distancing measures and face mask usage while out socially.
"In this viral surge we are seeing more tests being done but we are also seeing a higher percentage of those tests be positive. This indicates more infection is the issue - not more testing," Robert Schooley, a professor of medicine with the Division of Infectious Diseases and Global Public Health at the University of California, San Diego, told Xinhua in an interview.
China has reacted over US remarks centering China's Xinjiang policy and urged some U.S. politicians to immediately stop smearing China.
The US politicians have also been urged to stop interfering in China's internal affairs by creating rumors under the pretext of Xinjiang.
Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian made the remarks in response to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's statement over China's Xinjiang policy on Tuesday.
"We urge U.S. politicians like Pompeo to reject bias and double standards, face up to the issue of racial discrimination at home, spend more time and energy on improving human rights conditions at home, and immediately stop smearing China and interfering in China's internal affairs by creating rumors under the pretext of Xinjiang," Zhao said.
The Chinese government equally protects the legitimate rights and interests of people of all ethnic groups, including ethnic minorities, Zhao said.
From 1978 to 2018, the population of Uygurs in Xinjiang grew from 5.55 million to 11.68 million, registering a 2.1 times increase and accounting for about 46.8 percent of the total population of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, the spokesperson said.
Zhao said ethnic minorities in the United States have long been suffering from bullying, exclusion and wide, systemic discrimination in economic, cultural, social and other aspects, citing examples from the killing of Indians through the Westward Expansion to the death of African American George Floyd.
Thousands of people in western Myanmar have been fleeing their villages over the past week after an evacuation order from officials due to clashes between the government and ethnic rebels.
The Rakhine state government, in an order last Tuesday, instructed village administrators in Rathedaung township to tell residents to stay away from their homes due to military plans to conduct a “clearance operation” against the rebels. “Clearance operation” is Myanmar military parlance for counterinsurgency action.
“Since the day the order was issued, more than 10,000 people from the operation area fled their villages,” Khin Maung Latt, an upper house member of parliament for Rathedaung township, said Monday, reports Associated Press on Tuesday.
The government has been embroiled for more than a year in an intermittent conflict with the Arakan Army, a well-trained and well-armed guerrilla force representing members of the area’s Rakhine ethnic group.
In Rakhine in 2017, the military carried out counterinsurgency operations against insurgents from the Muslim Rohingya minority, but critics charge they employed a campaign of terror to drive the Rohingya out of the country. An estimated 740,000 Rohingya fled to neighbouring Bangladesh, where they remain in refugee camps.
The Rakhine are Buddhist, the religion of almost 90 percent of Myanmar’s people.
“We have to flee the village as we don’t want to face the soldiers from the military. They were shooting into the village, arresting the villagers to use as human shields,” said Aye Mg, a 58-year-old resident of Rathedaung township’s Kyauktan village, where the government previously detained dozens of suspected Rakhine militants.
Civil society organisations and Buddhist monks are helping the newly displaced villagers find shelter.
“People can’t live in their places any longer due to the fighting. We are hosting over 300 displaced people at our monastery; around 100 of them have arrived recently,” Okkahta, a monk, said from the Tahtipati Sipintharyar Monastery in Rathedaung town.
“It’s like doomsday for them,” lawmaker Khin Maung Lat said, explaining why villagers fled. “They are in fear. This is the impact of the evacuation order to stay away from the village during the military operation.”
“Even most of the village administrators are fleeing from the villages,” he said. “Even they are scared to go back to their villages.”
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the European Union on Tuesday announced a list of nations whose citizens will be allowed to enter 31 European countries.
As Europe’s economies reel from the impact of coronavirus, southern EU countries like Greece, Italy and Spain are desperate to entice back sun-loving visitors and breathe life into their tourism industries.
More than 15 million Americans are estimated to travel to Europe each year, while some 10 million Europeans head across the Atlantic.
Many people both inside and outside Europe remain wary of travel in the coronavirus era, given the unpredictability of the pandemic and the possibility of second waves of infection. Tens of thousands of travelers had a frantic, chaotic scramble in March to get home as the pandemic swept across the world and borders slammed shut.
EU envoys to Brussels have launched a written procedure which would see the list endorsed Tuesday as long as no objections are raised by member countries. The list is expected to contain up to 15 countries that have virus infection rates comparable to those in the EU, reports AP.
Infection rates in Brazil, Russia and India are high too, and they are also unlikely to make the cut.
The countries would also have to lift any bans they might have on European travelers. The list of permitted nations is to be updated every 14 days, with new countries being added or even dropping off depending on if they are keeping the disease under control.
The daily number of new confirmed cases in the US has surged over the past week. The US has the world’s worst coronavirus outbreak, with nearly 2.6 million people confirmed infected and over 126,000 dead, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University that experts say understates the pandemic’s true toll due to limited testing and other reasons.
In contrast, the virus’s spread has generally stabilised across much of continental Europe.
The EU imposed restrictions on non-essential travel to its 27 nations, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, which are part of the Schengen open-borders area, in March to halt the spread of the virus. Non-EU citizens who are already living in Europe are not included in the ban.
The EU list does not apply to travel to Britain, which left the EU in January. Britain now requires all incoming travelers — bar a few exceptions like truck drivers — to go into a self-imposed 14-day quarantine, although the measure is under review and is likely to ease in the coming weeks. The requirement also applies to U.K. citizens.