An amendment of wordings in the bill of the National Security Law for Hong Kong tabled in the Standing Committee of CCP’s “National People’s Congress” has become the focus of the controversy. The bill now proposes to punish “activities that threaten the national security and involve the collusion of foreign or external powers”. While in the former resolution, the Committee was empowered to make laws that guard against “activities that interfere the Hong Kong SAR by foreign and external powers”. Local pundits regard this a change of target; it is now mainly aiming at the residents of the city.
The bill must be read in the background of recent comments made by the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, which expressed that “extreme” cases would be handled and adjudged in the mainland. Nobody knows what they mean by “extreme” and how extreme a case needs to be to satisfy this criterion.
Readers may be aware of the criminal liability of attempts of a crime. It means that it is proper to punish a suspect for activities that do not complete a full offence. Even if the result is impossible to achieve, or there are some elements of a full offence missing, the law court can convict and sentence the defendant. The doctrine of attempt appears in the common law system, so as the “legal system” of the CCP. The CCP can either instruct the local police to arrest a target to have them extradited to the mainland for trial (since the principle of double criminality between two jurisdictions is fulfilled here), or simply send their agents to apprehend according to the Affairs Office.
After the law has passed, the CCP can benefit from the sweeping power to silence any dissents with the excuse, i.e. the enacted bill, they grant to themselves. How about the foreigners who are accused of conspiring in those activities? Will they be, or threatened to be, arrested? The answer is so obvious now.