Hong Kong lawmakers cross controversial China anthem invoice

A man steps over a barricade which had been set up to block access to Victoria Park in Hong Kong on June 4, 2020Image copyright AFP
Image caption Some protesters have breached barricades erected to cease a vigil in Victoria Park

Lawmakers in Hong Kong have permitted a controversial invoice making it a criminal offense to insult China’s nationwide anthem.

Ahead of the vote, two legislators had been taken away by safety guards after throwing a foul-smelling liquid on to the chamber ground.

They mentioned they had been protesting in opposition to China’s rising management over Hong Kong, and likewise marking the anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown.

Police have banned an anniversary vigil citing coronavirus measures.

Officers have erected barricades round Victoria Park, the place the vigil was set to happen however some pro-democracy protesters have defied orders to not congregate, flattening boundaries and holding candlelit gatherings.

The newest occasions come because the Chinese authorities is drawing up a brand new safety regulation for Hong Kong, a move that threatens to lift tensions even additional.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Vigil organisers held a candlelit occasion after crossing barricades into Victoria Park

What is the nationwide anthem invoice?

The new regulation carries penalties of steep fines and as much as three years in jail for anybody who reveals disrespect to China’s nationwide anthem, the March of the Volunteers.

It additionally requires that schoolchildren within the territory be taught the anthem and its historical past.

Many in Hong Kong see it as one other move by Beijing to impose its will and weaken the area’s “one country, two systems” coverage.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption The chamber of Hong Kong’s Legislative Council needed to be cleaned after Thursday’s protest

The invoice was handed by 41 votes to 1 within the Legislative Council – Hong Kong’s parliament – on Thursday, regardless of makes an attempt by opposition members to disrupt it. Pro-democracy legislators abstained from voting, the South China Morning Post reported.

In current years, the Chinese anthem has steadily been booed earlier than matches involving the Hong Kong soccer workforce. Many followers have as a substitute sung Glory to Hong Kong, which has develop into a rallying cry for pro-democracy activists.

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Media captionWhy had been Hong Kong followers booing their anthem? (2015 video)

Will occasions for Tiananmen Square happen?

Hong Kong and Macau are the one elements of China which were allowed to mark the killings. On the mainland, references to the crackdown are banned, and the federal government mentions it not often – if in any respect.

On 4 June 1989 troops and tanks opened fireplace on pro-democracy protesters in Beijing – estimates of the useless differ from a number of hundred to a number of thousand.

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Media captionTiananmen’s tank man: The picture that China forgot

Tens of 1000’s of individuals usually mark the anniversary in Hong Kong however police informed native media that 3,000 riot officers can be deployed to cease smaller or impromptu commemorations.

The Hong Kong Alliance – which organises the annual vigil – has printed a timetable for a home-based commemoration.

They are asking individuals to mild a candle at 20:00 native time “no matter where you are”, adopted by a minute’s silence, songs, and “chanting of slogans”.

They additionally need to ship delegates to Victoria Park in small teams that adjust to social distancing rules.

Groups of as much as eight are allowed to collect in Hong Kong underneath the territory’s virus rules. But police sources informed the South China Morning Post that if totally different teams gathered for a “common purpose”, they’d be moved on.

Some pro-democracy activists marked the anniversary outdoors a Hong Kong jail on Wednesday night.

What is the proposed safety regulation?

The Chinese authorities needs a brand new safety regulation for Hong Kong, which might make it a criminal offense to undermine Beijing’s authority.

The regulation might additionally see China putting in its personal safety companies within the metropolis for the primary time.

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Media caption“China has replaced one country, two systems with one country, one system,” mentioned Mr Trump

Critics fear the regulation would additional erode Hong Kong’s freedoms.

They additionally fear the invoice might imply no extra Tiananmen Square vigils in Hong Kong – even after the virus menace has eased.

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Media captionThere are fears that vigils for the Tiananmen Square crackdown could not return

The draft regulation was handed by China’s rubber-stamp parliament, the National People’s Congress, and is predicted to return into power by September.

The proposal sparked renewed protests in Hong Kong. When the federal government final tried to introduce a nationwide safety regulation in 2003, it backed down after public anger.