China takes 'grave step' as it passes Hong Kong security law

30 June 2020, 12:13

China passed a controversial national security law giving it new powers over Hong Kong
China passed a controversial national security law giving it new powers over Hong Kong. Picture: PA

By Asher McShane

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has said the UK is "deeply concerned" by reports that China has passed a controversial new national security law that gives their government new powers over Hong Kong.

The Chinese legislation would allow authorities to crack down on subversive and secessionist activity in Hong Kong and already caused strained relations with Britain and the US.

The legislation also effectively curtail people's right to protest and will have implications on freedom of speech.

Hong Kong's sole representative to the standing committee of the National People's Congress, Tam Yiu-Chung, said in an interview with reporters that the law had been passed.

Mr Raab said in a statement: "We are deeply concerned by unconfirmed reports that Beijing has passed the national security law. This would be a grave step.

"Once we have seen the full legislation, we will make a further statement."

The UK has offered to allow almost three million of Hong Kong's inhabitants the opportunity to come to Britain if Beijing imposes the national security law.

Boris Johnson has said he would effectively upgrade the status of British National (Overseas) passports, which 350,000 people in Hong Kong hold and 2.5 million are eligible to apply for, to grant immigration rights beyond the current six-month limit.