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    Hong Kong passes new national security law imposing life sentences for treason, insurrection

    By Clyde Hughes,


    March 19 (UPI) -- Hong Kong legislators on Tuesday unanimously passed a new so-called national security law imposing steep sentences including life in prison for offenses such as treason and insurrection.
    Hong Kong on Tuesday unanimously passed a new national security law that would impose life sentences for treason, insurrection and other offenses in an ongoing crackdown on dissent in the wake of the 2019 pro-democracy protests. File Photo by Ismail Fazry/EPA-EFE

    The Safeguarding National Security Law would raise the penalty for offenses including treason, insurrection, inciting members of the Chinese armed forces to mutiny and colluding with external forces to damage public infrastructure to life in prison.

    Overall, the measure, that was first introduced 21 years ago, expanded penalties for 39 offenses broken into a series of categories including treason, insurrection, inciting members of the Chinese military to mutiny and disaffection, and acts with a seditious intention, sabotage, external interference and the theft of state secrets and espionage.

    All 89 lawmakers voted in favor of the law, which will take effect on March 23 and Legislative Council President Andrew Leung joined in by casting his own vote in a rare move.

    "As the president of the legislative council, I would not vote in usual circumstances, however, legislation of Article 23 is not just any other piece of legislation," Andrew Leung said, according to the Hong Kong Free Press.

    "It is of the utmost importance, so at this historic moment I will vote in favor of the bill."

    Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee suggested that the bill was supported by the Chinese government.

    "Today is a historic moment for Hong Kong," said Lee, Hong Kong's former security secretary who led the response to the protests 2019 pro-democracy protests. "We live up to the expectations of the central government and our country."

    In the wake of the protests, Beijing passed a similar national security law that went into effect in 2020 that criminalized secession, sedition, subversion, terrorism and working with foreign agencies to undermine the national security of the People's Republic of China in Hong Kong.

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