A comprehensive national security law that will soon be imposed on Hong Kong will be "like installing anti-virus software," a Beijing-based senior official said Monday in a speech warning democracy demonstrators that they had "gone too far."
The comments from Zhang Xiaoming, deputy director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Bureau, have been the most detailed of a senior party roster since Beijing announced plans last month to ban subversion, secession, terrorism, and foreign interference.
His comments came a day before the troubled city erupted, a year after the eruption of violent and often violent protests that raged for seven months in the most direct challenge to Beijing's rule since the city's surrender in 1997.
"Once this law comes into force, it will be like installing Hong Kong antivirus software, with" One Country, Two Systems "running more safely, smoothly, and sustainably," Zhang said, referring to the model by which China granted Hong Kong certain freedoms and autonomy denied to its citizens on the mainland authoritarian.
Opponents fear that the law that is currently being drafted in Beijing and will bypass Hong Kong legislation will bring mainland political oppression to a business center that is said to guarantee freedom and autonomy by 2047.
Anti-subversion laws are routinely used in mainland authoritarianism to eradicate dissent.
During his speech, Zhang repeated Beijing's claims that the law would only address an "extremely small number of people".
"The opposition camp's radical separatists have mistaken the central government's reluctance and leniency for weakness and shyness," he said. "You went too far."
In the months of the rallies, millions of Hong Kongers took to the streets last year. This was the culmination of years of fears that Beijing would prematurely undermine the city's freedoms.
But Beijing has portrayed the movement as a conspiracy by foreign powers to destabilize mainland China.
"The opposition camp … wants to make Hong Kong an independent or semi-independent political entity, a bridgehead for the foreign powers against China and the Chinese Communist Party, and a chess game that the foreign powers can use to contain China," Zhang said.
During the protests last year, Zhang's office and Chinese state media previously said problems like housing shortages and high living costs could have fueled the unrest.
In recent months, Beijing has instead classified the city's political crisis as a national security threat.
"In my view, the main problem in Hong Kong is neither an economic problem nor a livelihood problem in terms of housing and people's employment … It is a political problem," said Zhang.
The proposed law, which was passed by the Chinese stamp parliament, also provides that security officials on the mainland may open a business in Hong Kong for the first time.
Zhang denied "rumors" that they could arrest and send suspects to the mainland.
"National security organizations must strictly comply with laws when handling cases in mainland China. How is it possible that they won't be restricted in Hong Kong?" he said.
(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and is generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)