HONG KONG – China will have jurisdiction over “very serious” national security crimes in Hong Kong with offenders facing up to life in prison, according to the text of a new law published late Tuesday, June 30, hours after it was imposed on the financial hub.
The controversial law also empowers China to set up a national security agency in the city, staffed by officials who are not bound by local law when carrying out duties.
The new suite of powers radically restructures the relationship between Beijing and Hong Kong, toppling the legal firewall that has existed between the city’s independent judiciary and the mainland’s party-controlled courts.
It outlaws 4 types of national security crimes: subversion, secession, terrorism and colluding with foreign forces to endanger national security.
The text gave 3 scenarios when China might take over a prosecution – complicated foreign interference cases, “very serious” cases and when national security faces “serious and realistic threats.”
Both the national security agency and Hong Kong “can request to pass the case to mainland China and the prosecution will be done by a procuratorate designated by the Supreme People’s Procuratorate and the trial will be in a court designated by the Supreme Court,” the law stated.
“No matter whether violence has been used, or the threat of violence used, leaders or serious offenders will be sentenced for life imprisonment or a minimum of 10 years in jail,” the law declared.
“The Hong Kong government has no jurisdiction over the national security agency in Hong Kong and its staff when they are discharging duties provided in this law,” the text added.
The law also said certain national security cases could be held behind closed doors without juries in Hong Kong if they contained state secrets, although the verdict and eventual judgements would be made public. – Rappler.com