Hong Kong Passes New National Security Law, Imposing Life Sentences For Treason And Insurrection

Hong Kong legislators unanimously approved a new national security law, which carries severe punishments, including life imprisonment, for crimes such as treason and insurrection.

The Safeguarding National Security Law aims to increase the severity of penalties for various offenses. These offenses include treason, insurrection, inciting mutiny among members of the Chinese armed forces, and colluding with external forces to damage public infrastructure. Under this law, individuals convicted of such crimes could face a life sentence in prison.

The measure, which was initially introduced 21 years ago, broadened the penalties for 39 offenses categorized under treason, insurrection, inciting members of the Chinese military to mutiny and disaffection, acts with a seditious intention, sabotage, external interference, theft of state secrets, and espionage.

In a rare move, Legislative Council President Andrew Leung joined all 89 lawmakers in voting in favor of the law, which is set to take effect on March 23.

According to the Hong Kong Free Press, Andrew Leung, the president of the legislative council, stated that while he typically would not vote in ordinary circumstances, the legislation of Article 23 is not an ordinary piece of legislation.

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“I will vote in favor of the bill as it holds great significance at this historic moment.”

According to Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee, the Chinese government has expressed its support for the bill.

Lee, the former security secretary of Hong Kong who played a key role in responding to the 2019 pro-democracy protests, expressed that today is a significant milestone for Hong Kong. He emphasized that the people have fulfilled the expectations of the central government and their country.

Beijing implemented a national security law in 2020 in response to the protests, which made secession, sedition, subversion, terrorism, and collaboration with foreign entities to undermine China’s national security in Hong Kong illegal.

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