The Economist pp34-35 China | Hong Kong’s freedoms | “The evening of its days”. “A new national-security bill is far harsher than most people predicted”.
Besides Britain handing over Hong Kong in 1997, the new national-security bill is the “biggest blow to the territory’s freedom”. “The new law relates to crimes involving secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces”. This taking control by China overrules Hong Kong’s “Basic Law”, part of the 1997 agreement, that had the territory passing “its own legislation concerning such offences”.
Examples of how violations might be classified:
1) “vandalizing public transport could now be treated as terrorism”
2) “breaking into the legislature or throwing eggs at the central liaison office” could labeled “subversion”
3) Pushing for Hong Kong’s independence could be classified as secession
4) asking foreign entities “to impose sanctions on China could result in prosecution for collusion"
All violations could lead to a maximum life sentence. Even peaceful activities could be labeled subversive. Further the law “may affect a wide range of other freedoms” including regulations regarding “schools, universities, social organizations, the media and the internet”.
An “Office for Safeguarding National Security” will be opened and staffed in Hong Kong by the “mainland’s civilian security forces”. Trials will be managed by the mainland authorities who will have broad authority on procedures that could include “dispense[ing] with juries”. Trials could take place in mainland China.
Some organizations are visibly pulling back on activities-disbanding groups, removing political signage and closing social media accounts.