Chinese lawmakers approve law allowing for stricter crackdown on Hong Kong

Chinese lawmakers approve law allowing for stricter crackdown on Hong Kong
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China's parliament moved Thursday to approve changes to national security laws in Hong Kong that activists warn will further curtail freedoms in the city.

Reuters and The Associated Press reported that a bill approved in a 2,878 to 1 vote will require authorities in Hong Kong to enforce anti-terrorism measures targeting protests and alleged foreign interference, though exact details of the measures have not been released. The bill, unveiled by the ruling Chinese Communist Party, also bans secession-related activities and "foreign interference" in the city's affairs.

Another bill being considered by the parliament would criminalize any "disrespect" to the country's national anthem, Reuters noted.

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The pieces of legislation reportedly triggered the first major demonstrations in Hong Kong in months as residents poured into the streets Wednesday night and hundreds were arrested. Those protests reportedly continued Thursday, with demonstrators chanting slogans in a shopping mall.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters on Tuesday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpDavis: Supreme Court decision is bad news for Trump, good news for Vance Meadows trying to root out suspected White House leakers by feeding them info: Axios Pressley hits DeVos over reopening schools: 'I wouldn't trust you to care for a house plant let alone my child' MORE was "displeased" by the latest developments in the territory.

"He’s displeased with China’s efforts and that it’s hard to see how Hong Kong can remain a financial hub if China takes over," she said at a news conference.

The State Department also told Congress on Wednesday that Hong Kong no longer deserves special consideration from the U.S., as it could no longer be considered significantly autonomous from China.

“I certified to Congress today that Hong Kong does not continue to warrant treatment under United States laws in the same manner as U.S. laws were applied to Hong Kong before July 1997,” Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoHillicon Valley: Facebook considers political ad ban | Senators raise concerns over civil rights audit | Amazon reverses on telling workers to delete TikTok Amazon backtracks, says email asking employees to delete TikTok was sent in error Amazon asks employees to delete TikTok from mobile devices: report MORE said. “No reasonable person can assert today that Hong Kong maintains a high degree of autonomy from China, given facts on the ground.”