China is seeking to pass a law that would ban “treason, secession, sedition and subversion” in Hong Kong.
The law was submitted at the annual National People’s Congress, which largely rubber-stamps decisions already taken by the Communist leadership, but is still the most important political event of the year.
Hong Kong, a semi-autonomous region and an economic powerhouse, was required to introduce such a law after the handover from British control to Chinese rule in 1997. But its unpopularity means it has never been done – the government tried in 2003 but had to back down after 500,000 people took to the streets.
Now, after a wave of sustained protests in Hong Kong last year, Beijing is attempting to push the law through.
Critics say the law would strip Hong Kong of the rights it currently enjoys, that are not seen in mainland China.
It is seen as a major blow to the city’s freedoms.