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Iran Press TV

Hong Kong's leader rejects 'doom and gloom' depictions of new security law

Iran Press TV

Tuesday, 07 July 2020 5:33 AM

Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam has defended the new national security law enacted in the semi-autonomous Chinese city last week, dismissing exaggerated accounts of its implications for the city.

Speaking at a regular weekly press conference on Tuesday, Lam rejected allegations that the law would stifle freedoms in Hong Kong as "fallacies."

"Surely, this is not doom and gloom for Hong Kong," she said.

The new law criminalizes sedition, secession, and subversion against the mainland and allows Chinese national security institutions to operate in the city for the first time since 1997, when Hong Kong returned from British to Chinese rule. Those offenses are punishable by sentences of up to life in prison.

"Compared with the national security laws of other countries, it is a rather mild law. Its scope is not as broad as that in other countries and even China," Lam said.

The law took effect late last Tuesday.

Skeptics say it would be a blow to the territory's autonomy and civil liberties, but Beijing has assured that the law would target a minority of individuals who disregard law and order in Hong Kong.

Lam also stressed that the legislation would restore Hong Kong's status as one of the safest cities in the world following violent protests last year.

Hong Kong was rocked by riots over a bill that would have reformed its extradition law last year. Violent individuals vandalized the city, destroying public and private property and attacking anyone deemed to be pro-government. Hong Kong dropped that bill, but the acts of violence continued.

The city's leader vowed to "vigorously implement this law."

"And I forewarn those radicals not to attempt to violate this law, or cross the red line, because the consequences of breaching this law are very serious," she said.

Her remarks came hours after Hong Kong announced more details of the law. According to the new details, security forces have overriding authority to enter and search properties for evidence and ban people from leaving the city.

The US, Britain, and other Western countries have criticized the law and have moved to take action against Beijing and Hong Kong. China says Hong Kong is a purely internal Chinese affair.

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