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The Chinese Communist party's decision to introduce national security legislation here in Hong Kong is being described by many in the city as the death of Hong Kong as we know it.
First of all, it has already triggered a constitutional crisis here in the city. Secondly, the rights and freedoms enjoyed by citizens here, that are unique within China's borders, are now under direct threat. And, thirdly, the violence, which has rocked the city since early last year, now appears likely to return with a vengeance.
By introducing the security law directly, Beijing is bypassing Hong Kong's semi-autonomous legislature. And, in doing so, legal scholars here say it's probably breaking the Basic Law - Hong Kong's mini-constitution.
Whenever Beijing, whenever Carrie Lam and the pro-establishment don't like something, they will do whatever it takes, including breaking the system that we have, the rules that we have. The same goes to "one country, two systems". The same goes to Basic Law.
Now Hong Kong operates, as a legacy of the British, a common law system and China has a completely different authoritarian legal system. By trying to inject that system, particularly around national security, into the common law system, it basically is likely to break the whole thing apart. Now, Hong Kong, as a global financial centre, relies very much on its independent judiciary and the rule of law. By introducing this legislation it calls into question the very basis of Hong Kong's prosperity.
Within the borders of the People's Republic of China, only Hong Kong, the former British colony, enjoys the rights and freedoms that most people in the west take for granted - freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and the freedom of association. In mainland China, controlled directly by the Communist party, the definition of national security is extremely broad. People can be arrested and thrown in prison for writing a satirical poem about the Communist party. By introducing this legislation now, China is effectively bringing their definition of national security to Hong Kong.
Protests that began a year ago started with enormous peaceful marches calling for political reform. They later, as the police cracked down, morphed into something much smaller, but more violent.
The concern here is that more radical elements amongst the protesters will turn to more violent action. And one of the slogans you've heard more and more on the streets today is "lam chao" - if we burn, you burn with us. It looks like Hong Kong is in for another very tumultuous summer.