China likely to release draft of HK security law

Beijing is likely to unveil its draft of the controversial national security law tailor-made for Hong Kong on Saturday as the bi-monthly meeting of China’s top legislative body wraps up, sources said.

A short public consultation period is expected to be announced after the three-day meeting of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee ends on Saturday, the sources told the South China Morning Post newspaper.

The central government and Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam were expected to issue a statement shortly after, they added.

The draft is expected to spell out in greater detail the four crimes of the law �- secession, subversion of state power, terrorist activities and collusion with foreign and external forces to endanger national security, as well as set out the penalties.

Tam Yiu-chung, Hong Kong’s sole delegate to China’s top legislative body, told the South China Morning Post that Beijing would make “official announcements” on Saturday afternoon about the first round of deliberations for the law.

But he said the date of the next meeting had not yet been specified.

According to the decision Beijing approved last month, the Standing Committee is authorised to formulate the national law, which shall be promulgated and implemented in Hong Kong.

It remains unclear when the law will take effect in the city but sources had earlier indicated that it should be in place well before the Legislative Council elections are due to be held on September 6.