Protest in Hong Kong over China move to pass security law

International

Protesters gesture with five fingers, signifying the “Five demands – not one less” in a shopping mall during a protest against China’s national security legislation for the city, in Hong Kong, Friday, May 29, 2020. The British government says t it will grant hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong residents greater visa rights if China doesn’t scrap a planned new security law for the semi-autonomous territory. U.K. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said about 300,000 people in Hong Kong who hold British National (Overseas) passports will be able to stay in Britain for 12 months rather than the current six. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

HONG KONG (AP) — Dozens of people joined a protest in a mall in Hong Kong on Friday following a vote by China’s ceremonial parliament to approve legislation that could severely restrict opposition political activity and civic activity in the Asian financial center.

The protesters chanted slogans in the main atrium of the mall in the high-end Central district, some draping banners over the balconies with slogans such as “Independence for Hong Kong.”

Police waited in vans parked prominently outside the mall but did not attempt to break up the gathering. Hundreds of people have been arrested during recent demonstrations that seek to revive the momentum of protests that shut down large parts of the city during the second half of last year.

China’s National People’s Congress on Thursday voted to approve the bill that will now be sent to its standing committee for final approval. Details of the final version of the law aren’t known, but China says it will prohibit separatist activities and actions that might threaten the Communist Party’s monopoly on political power in mainland China.

Beijing and its supporters in Hong Kong are defending the legislative move against criticism from foreign countries, including the U.S., which has threatened to revoke special trade privileges granted to the former British colony when it was handed over to China in 1997 under a “one country, two systems” framework in which it was guaranteed its own political, legal, social and legal institutions for 50 years.

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