On Thursday the parliament of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) passed a law which would criminalize the ‘insult’ to the national anthem of the PRC and allow the PRC’s state security agencies more room to operate in Hong Kong, raising the possibility that people in Hong Kong could be prosecuted for political crimes.

This would effectively end the relative freedom Hong Kongers have enjoyed since the city was handed over to the PRC in 1997 by the British, and would strike a fatal blow to the ‘one country two systems agreement’ which has shaped Hong Kong since 1997.

The new law has been strongly condemned by pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, as well as the governments of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.  

The United Kingdom says that the 300 000 people in Hong Kong who hold overseas British passports would be offered a ‘pathway to future citizenship’ if the PRC did not reverse course.

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