HONG KONG—Beijing plans to vest itself with key powers to enforce national security in Hong Kong, proposing a law that would allow the central government to supervise the policing of subversive activities in the protest-racked city and, in some cases, intervene directly.
State media on Saturday disclosed details of the proposed national-security law for Hong Kong, which opposition groups and foreign governments including the U.S. have criticized as gravely undercutting the city’s promised autonomy from Beijing. Senior Chinese lawmakers reviewed the draft for the first time at a three-day legislative session in Beijing, though the meeting ended Saturday without a vote to pass the law.
Beijing will set up a dedicated central-government office in Hong Kong to manage national-security affairs, according to an explanatory note summarizing the draft, released by the state-run Xinhua News Agency. The office will be empowered to make security assessments, gather and analyze intelligence, advise and supervise local authorities on national-security matters, as well as handle select criminal cases.
While Hong Kong authorities would be responsible for handling most criminal cases related to national security, the office and other mainland Chinese state-security agencies would be able to exercise jurisdiction over “a very small number” of cases, the summary note said.
According to the summary, provisions in the new national-security law would supersede existing Hong Kong legislation should there be inconsistencies between them. China’s legislature would also be empowered to issue judicial interpretations on the law, meaning Beijing has the final say over how it should be implemented.