China Opens “Security Office” in Hong Kong

  • Lam said the center would help "establish legal stability" and promote "national security" in Hong Kong.
  • The Chinese government recently passed a new security law to control Hong Kong.
  • At the end of May, US President Donald Trump threatened to end the special relationship with Hong Kong if the bill was passed. 

With the opening of a “security office” in Hong Kong, the Chinese leadership has taken another step toward abolishing the “one country, two systems” principle. Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam spoke at an official unveiling of a memorial plaque next to the “Security Office” mansion.

Carrie Lam is a Hong Kong politician serving as the 4th and current Chief Executive of Hong Kong since 2017. She served as the Chief Secretary for Administration, the most senior principal official, from 2012 to 2017, and as Secretary for Development from 2007 to 2012.

She said the center would help “establish legal stability” and promote “national security” in Hong Kong. The newly established security office is located in a hotel overlooking Victoria Park. For years, the park has been a gathering place for supporters of the Democratic Movement. Security forces blocked the streets around the park with barrels of water to counter the protests.

Legal Grounds for China’s Recent Move

The Chinese government recently passed a new security law to control Hong Kong. This was China’s response to the widespread protests in the region in 2019. The new law allows police officers to monitor, inspect, and censor dissidents. With the new law, the security forces have opened their hands for arbitrary actions to suppress the opposition.

In 2003, the People’s Republic of China tried to pass a national security law for Hong Kong. At the time, protests and resistance from opposition forces and civil society activists prevented the plan from being approved. The Chinese Communist Party, however, did not remove such a law from the agenda.

Following the escalation of protests in Hong Kong, in May of this year, the Chinese National People’s Congress called for the passage of a “law to protect Hong Kong’s national security.” The law, passed in late June, allows Chinese law enforcement to take action against opposition forces, separatists, and so-called “foreign interference.”

In 1997, when Hong Kong was handed over to China by the British, on the condition of “one country, two systems.” Under that principle, the People’s Republic of China had pledged to the citizens of this great financial and commercial center to respect civil and social rights such as freedom of opinion, expression, and association for up to 50 years.

“One country, two systems” is a constitutional principle formulated by Deng Xiaoping, the Paramount Leader of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), for the reunification of China during the early 1980s. He suggested that there would be only one China, but distinct Chinese regions such as Hong Kong and Macau could retain their own economic and administrative systems.

Political observers see the recent actions of the Chinese Communist Party as a step-by-step effort to take full control of Hong Kong.

America’s Reaction

The United States and Hong Kong have had special relations so far. Unlike China, it was possible to export sensitive technologies and US weapons to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. Now, however, in response to the passage of the Hong Kong National Security Act, it has announced that it will end the export of such goods to Hong Kong.

At the end of May, US President Donald Trump threatened to end the special relationship with Hong Kong if the bill was passed. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced yesterday that the export of advanced US technologies, as well as US warplanes to Hong Kong, would be cut off.

The United States has said it will no longer differentiate between China and Hong Kong, and exports to Hong Kong will be subject to the same rules as for exports to China.

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Benedict Kasigara

I have been working as a freelance editor/writer since 2006. My specialist subject is film and television having worked for over 10 years from 2005 during which time I was the editor of the BFI Film and Television.

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