China Says Hong Kong Security Law A "Sword" Over Lawbreakers' Heads

Critics and western governments fear the new law will stifle freedoms in the semi-autonomous city of Hong Kong.

China Says Hong Kong Security Law A 'Sword' Over Lawbreakers' Heads

Pro-China supporters display Chinese and Hong Kong flags during a rally in Hong Kong. (AFP)

Beijing:

The new Hong Kong security law will be a "sword" hanging over the heads of those who endanger national security, Beijing authorities said Tuesday, as China President Xi Jinping signed the law into effect.

Official news agency Xinhua said China's top lawmaking body voted to adopt the controversial law and include it in Hong Kong's mini-constitution.

Critics and western governments fear the new law will stifle freedoms in the semi-autonomous city.

But Beijing and Hong Kong's government have insisted that the laws will only target a minority of people and will restore business confidence after a year of pro-democracy protests rocked the city.

"For the small minority who endanger national security, this law will be a sword hanging over their heads," said China's main body for Hong Kong affairs.

But "for the vast majority of Hong Kong residents and foreigners in Hong Kong, this law is a guardian spirit that protects their freedoms," the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office said.

The statement said that the central and city governments would "jointly" work together to make sure the law is implemented, and "usher in a turning point, for chaos to turn into governance."

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