Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam dismisses concerns over rights

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam dismisses concerns over rights

Agency News

Hong Kong, May 26 : Hong Kong's leader Carrie Lam on Tuesday asserted that other countries "have no place" interfering in the affairs of the territory, as she robustly defended a controversial national security law planned by China.

The new law would ban treason, secession, sedition and subversion. Critics say it would limit the city's unique freedoms. In her weekly press conference, Ms Lam said it was a "responsible" move to protect the law abiding majority. She denied that the law would curtail the rights of Hong Kongers in any way. These rights - set out in the Basic Law which is Hong Kong's mini-constitution - have been in place since it was handed back to China in 1997 by the UK.

The Basic Law guarantees certain freedoms to the territory, such as the right to protest, which do not exist on the mainland. During the weekend, police fired tear gas to disperse thousands of protesters who had taken to the streets to protest against the proposed law.

It is not actually a law yet but a proposal - being called a "draft decision" - that will be put to a vote at China's rubber-stamp parliament, the National People's Congress (NPC), this week. Once that vote is passed, the proposal will be fleshed out into a draft law and could be in force by the end of June. Ever since it was announced, it has faced fierce criticism internationally, but Ms Lam said other countries had "no place in interfering with this arrangement". (UNI)