People in Hong Kong could face life in jail for breaking a controversial and sweeping new security law imposed by China.
After the legislation came into force on Tuesday but the full text was only revealed hours afterwards.
Critics say the new law effectively curtails protest and undermines Hong Kong’s freedoms.
Hong Kong’s leader, Carrie Lam, defended the law, saying it filled a “gaping hole” in national security.
Details have been closely guarded and the Beijing-backed politician admitted she had not seen the draft before commenting.
UK and EU have all expressed their concern over the law, while pro-democracy groups have started to disband amid fears in the state.
Capital of United State, Washington DC also urged Beijing to revise, in order to enjiys in trade and travel with the U.S, bringing it in line with mainland China.
Full details of the new law only emerged after it had come into effect at about 23:00 local time on Tuesday (16:00 BST).
The law is applies to both permanent and non permanent residents. Read:
1. Beijing will establish a new security office in Hong Kong, with its own law enforcement personnel – neither of which would come under the local authority’s jurisdiction.
2. Decisions made by the national security commission, set up by local authorities, cannot be challenged legally.
3. Those found guilty will not be allowed to stand for public office.
4. Damaging public transport facilities can be considered terrorism – protesters often targeted city infrastructure during the long-running demonstrations.
5. Inciting hatred of China’s central government and Hong Kong’s regional government are now offences under Article 29
6. Crimes of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces are punishable by a minimum sentence of three years, with the maximum being life.
7. Hong Kong’s chief executive can appoint judges in national security cases, and the justice secretary can decide whether or not there is a jury.
8. China also says it will take over prosecution in cases which are considered “very serious”, while some trials will be heard behind closed doors.
9. Management of foreign non-governmental organisations and news agencies will be strengthened.
The law will not apply to acts which happened before it came into force.
Under the national security law, many of the acts of protest that have rocked Hong Kong over the past year could now be classed as subversion or secession… and punished with up to life in prison.