HONG KONG—China opened its national security office in Hong Kong on July 8, turning a hotel near a city-center park that has been one of the most popular venues for pro-democracy protests into its new headquarters.
The office, which operates beyond the scrutiny of local courts or other institutions, will oversee the Hong Kong governments enforcement of the sweeping national security legislation that Beijing imposed on the city last week.
The legislation gives its agents, operating openly in the global financial hub for the first time, enforcement powers.
It allows them to take suspects across the border for trials in Communist Party-controlled courts and gives them special privileges, including that Hong Kong authorities cannot search or detain them, or even inspect their vehicles.
It was unclear how many mainland agents will be stationed in the former Metropark Hotel, a 266-room, 33-story building in the shopping and commercial district of Causeway Bay, near Victoria Park.
The new security law has pushed Chinas freest city onto a more authoritarian path and drawn condemnation from some Western governments, lawyers, and human rights groups.
It punishes acts of secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with foreign forces with up to life in prison. Chinese police have arrested at least 10 people, including a 15-year-old, under it for suspected threats to Chinas national security.
Critics fear it will crush coveted freedoms in the Chinese-ruled city, while supporters say it will bring stability after a year of protests that plunged the former British colony into its biggest crisis in decades.
Hong Kong and Beijing officials insist rights and freedoms would remain intact, but say national security is a “red line.” The new security legislation has already started to change life in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong authorities on Wednesday banned schoolRead More – Source