Hong Kong Security Law

TIMELINE: The impact of the national security law on Hong Kong 1 year on

TIMELINE: The impact of the national security law on Hong Kong 1 year on

STAND WITH HONG KONG. Hong Kong exile pro-democracy activist Nathan Law wearing a face mask holds a rally with other activist groups during China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi's visit in Berlin, Germany, on September 1, 2020.

Michele Tantussi/Reuters

Here is a timeline of developments since China imposed national security legislation in Hong Kong a year ago

Here is a timeline of developments since China imposed national security legislation in Hong Kong a year ago, making anything Beijing regards as subversion, secession, terrorism or colluding with foreign forces punishable by up to life in prison.


June 30

Beijing’s national security law for Hong Kong takes effect just before midnight on the eve of the anniversary of its handover from British to Chinese rule on July 1.

July 1

Police arrest more than 300 people as protesters take to streets. Ten are arrested under the national security law. Britain promises to grant those in Hong Kong with British National Overseas (BNO) passports five years of limited stay to work or study as a pathway to citizenship.

July 2

The government says the protest slogan “Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of our times” could constitute subversion.

July 3

The United Nations says it is “alarmed” at the arrests in Hong Kong under the new law.

July 5

Hong Kong’s Education Bureau urges schools to review textbooks to make sure they do not violate the security law. The first person charged under the security law is denied bail.

July 8

A new national security office employing mainland agents is set up in a Hong Kong hotel. The protest anthem “Glory to Hong Kong” is banned in schools.

July 14

Beijing’s top representative office in Hong Kong warns that primary elections to select pro-democracy candidates for Legislative Council elections in September could violate the national security law.

July 15

US president Donald Trump orders an end to Hong Kong’s special status under US law. Beijing warns Washington of retaliatory sanctions.

July 17

Taiwanese officials in Hong Kong are told their visas will not be renewed unless they sign a document supporting Beijing’s claim to Taiwan under its “one China” policy.

July 20

Britain announces it will suspend its extradition treaty with Hong Kong.

July 29

Police arrest four people under the security law, the first such detentions outside of street protests.

July 30

Hong Kong disqualifies a dozen pro-democracy candidates from running in the September election, citing reasons such as collusion with foreign forces.

July 31

Chief Executive Carrie Lam postpones the September election, citing a spike in coronavirus cases.

August 7

The United States imposes sanctions on Luo Huining, the head of China’s Liaison Office in Hong Kong, Lam and other current and former officials Washington accuses of curtailing political freedoms in Hong Kong.

August 10

Media tycoon Jimmy Lai is arrested under the national security law, and detained over suspected collusion with foreign forces.

August 26

The Guangdong Coast Guard intercepts a boat and arrests 12 Hong Kong people they say were trying to flee to Taiwan.

September 6

Police arrest almost 300 during demonstrations on the day of the postponed legislative elections.

September 18

One of 14 foreign judges on Hong Kong’s highest court says he has resigned over the national security law.

October 1

Carrie Lam hails the city’s return to stability at China National Day celebrations as riot police arrest dozens.

November 9

The United States imposes sanctions on four more Chinese officials in Hong Kong’s governing and security establishment, citing their roles in implementing the security law.

November 11

Hong Kong expels four opposition members from its legislature shortly after Beijing passes a resolution allowing local authorities to expel legislators deemed a threat to national security or not holding allegiance to Hong Kong, without having to go through the courts.

November 12

Remaining 15 opposition members of the 70-seat Legislative Council resign in protest.

December 2

Prominent activist Joshua Wong, 24, jailed for more than 13 months over an unlawful anti-government rally in 2019.

December 7-8

Sixteen activists arrested over July’s protest and a November university protest, police say.


January 6

More than 50 pro-democratic activists are arrested on suspicion of breaking the national security law. Arrests, related to organizing an unofficial primary vote to select opposition candidates for legislative elections, include well-known democratic figures and former lawmakers.

January 15

Hong Kong’s 180,000 civil servants are told they have four weeks to sign a document pledging their loyalty to the Chinese-ruled city’s mini-constitution and dedication to the government. Six more Hong Kong or Chinese officials are sanctioned by the United States after mass arrests over the pro-democracy primaries.

January 29

Hong Kong announces that BNO passports would no longer be recognized as a valid travel document starting January 31.

February 5

The Education Bureau releases guidelines for schools on national security, saying students as young as 6 must learn about subversion and colluding with foreign forces.

February 16

Jimmy Lai is arrested on charges he helped Andy Li, one of the 12 activists captured by China at sea.

February 19

A government review of public broadcaster RTHK finds “deficiencies” in editorial management, signaling an overhaul of the institution and raising concerns over media freedom.

February 26

The Chinese University of Hong Kong withdraws its recognition of its student union, which it accuses of “political propaganda.”

February 28

Forty-seven of those arrested in January over the primary vote are charged with conspiracy to commit subversion.

March 1

After marathon hearings, most of the 47 are denied bail.

March 11

China’s parliament approves changes to Hong Kong’s electoral system, reducing democratic representation in the legislature.

March 13

G7 expresses “grave concerns” over electoral changes in Hong Kong.

March 22

Eight of the 12 people arrested by China at sea in August 2020 arrive back in the city after serving their sentence in Shenzhen for illegal border crossing and are immediately detained on charges related to the 2019 protests.

March 24

Activist Andy Li is charged with “conspiracy to commit collusion” with a foreign country, two days after his release from a Shenzhen prison.

March 30

China finalizes an overhaul of Hong Kong’s electoral system to ensure “patriots” rule the city.

April 8

Activist Nathan Law says he has been granted political asylum in Britain.

April 13

Carrie Lam announces further changes to the electoral system, including criminalizing calls for blank protest ballots.

April 15

Authorities mark National Security Education Day with school activities, games and shows, and a parade by police and other services. Beijing’s top representative in the city Luo Huining vows to “give a lesson to all foreign forces which intend to use Hong Kong as a pawn.”

April 16

Tycoon Jimmy Lai is sentenced to 14 months in prison, while nine other activists receive jail time or suspended sentences for taking part in unauthorized assemblies on August 18 and August 31, 2019.

April 28

Lawmakers pass an immigration bill that lawyers, diplomats and rights groups warn gives authorities unlimited power to ban residents and others from entering and leaving Hong Kong.

May 6

Activist Joshua Wong given a further 10 months in jail for participating in an unauthorized assembly on June 4, 2020, to commemorate the 1989 crackdown on protesters in and around Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.

May 14

The Security Bureau freezes Jimmy Lai’s assets, citing national security reasons.

May 20

A court denies a jury trial to the first person charged under the national security law.

May 21

Oath-taking with allegiance extends to staff of non-civil service contractors.

May 27

The legislature passes an electoral overhaul. Hong Kong police cite coronavirus restrictions to ban for a second year the annual vigil commemorating the Tiananmen crackdown.

May 28

Jimmy Lai is given a new prison sentence of 14 months over his role in an unauthorized assembly on October 1, 2019. Part of the new sentence will be served consecutively, meaning Lai’s sentences so far add up to 20 months.

June 4

Police arrest activist Chow Hang Tung, vice-chairwoman of the group which organizes annual vigils for the Tiananmen victims. Hong Kong judiciary says British judge to step down from city’s top court.

June 8

Carrie Lam says foreign judges will remain part of Hong Kong’s “hard-as-a-rock” judicial system. Canada launches two new immigration pathways for Hong Kong.

June 11

UK report says Hong Kong security law is being used to “drastically curtail freedoms.” Hong Kong government enacts guidelines to censor films under security law. Top US envoy in Hong Kong says China’s attacks on “foreign forces” threaten city’s global standing.

June 12

Hong Kong democracy activist Agnes Chow is released from jail.

June 17

Authorities raid pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily as part of a national security investigation. Five executives are arrested. Hong Kong Security Secretary says raid targets those who use reporting to endanger national security.

Britain, European Union, United States say raid shows China is cracking down on dissent.

June 19

Hong Kong police charged two Apple Daily executives with collusion with a foreign country under the national security law. They were denied bail.

June 22

Carrie Lam says criticism of Apple Daily raid is an attempt to “beautify” security threats. Hong Kong court upholds decision for no jury at first national security trial.

June 23

First person charged under the security law pleads not guilty as trial gets under way. Police arrest Apple Daily columnist.

June 24

Apple Daily prints its last edition as hundreds of supporters outside the building wish employees well. UN rights chief says Hong Kong security law prompts media self-censorship and US President Joe Biden calls closure a “sad day for media freedom.”

June 25

China dismisses concern for Hong Kong freedoms after closure of Apple Daily. Chinese news agency Xinhua says Hong Kong Security Secretary John Lee to replace Matthew Cheung as Carrie Lam’s No. 2.

June 27

Hong Kong police arrest former Apple Daily journalist at airport. – Rappler.com

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