Taiwan vows 'necessary assistance' to Hong Kong residents

The Hong Kong skyline is lit up on Christmas Eve in Hong Kong China

Hong Kong police fired tear gas and water cannon to disperse thousands of people who rallied on Sunday to protest against Beijing's move to introduce new national security laws.

The Two Sessions seems a flawless opportunity for Beijing to force a national security law down Hong Kong's throat while bypassing Hong Kong's legislature: 100 percent delegates from NPC and CPPCC will approve the bill.

Tam Yiu-chung, Hong Kong's sole delegate to China's National People's Congress Standing Committee, told the public broadcaster RTHK on Monday that said he did not expect any delay in the drafting of the national security law.

China's Foreign Ministry has harshly criticised Washington's recent attempts to meddle in its policies towards Hong Kong, vowing to use "every necessary measure" to stop the U.S. from doing so in the future if necessary.

Instead he repeated a line that said that protesters breached a red line supporting independence, mischaracterizing a movement that pushed for meaningful elections, an independent review of police abuses and the withdrawal of a bill that would allow extraditions to the mainland for the first time.

Police said they had arrested 40 people.

Though smaller demonstrations have broken out in recent weeks, Sunday's was the largest since protests over a now-suspended extradition law roiled the city a year ago.

The draft decision came after Hong Kong was embroiled in prolonged riots previous year as the city's opposition attempted to create a "color revolution".

Calls for independence are anathema to Beijing, which considers Hong Kong an inalienable part of the country.

The proposed new national security framework stresses Beijing's intent "to prevent, stop and punish" such acts. "Support Hong Kong with real actions", Chiang said, referring to parliamentary bills to give political asylum for people from Hong Kong.

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Hong Kong government agencies issuing statements in support of the legislation included the Commissioner of Correctional Services and Hong Kong Customs.

Even before the proposed security law, there were fears that China was steadily eroding those freedoms.

He said Beijing had already made "stern representations to the United States".

Lee's comments came amid growing signs that the June 4 candlelight vigil organised annually by civil society groups to commemorate the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing could be banned.

Hong Kong Basic Law Article 23 states that the HKSAR "shall enact laws on its own to prohibit any act of treason, secession, sedition, subversion against the Central People's Government, or theft of state secrets, to prohibit foreign political organizations or bodies from conducting political activities in the Region, and to prohibit political organizations or bodies of the Region from establishing ties with foreign political organizations or bodies".

That means China could potentially have its own law enforcement agencies in Hong Kong, alongside the city's own. "We are not happy to see it happening", the official said.

The unflattering portrayal of the US Secretary of State comes from the CGTN, Beijing's worldwide broadcaster, which lampooned Pompeo's involvement in Hong Kong protests in a cartoon on Monday.

White House National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien suggested the measures on Sunday on NBC's "Meet The Press". The agreement states Hong Kong must exercise a "high degree of autonomy, rights and freedoms" for 50 years after returning to Beijing rule.

Beijing, meanwhile, has warned of a "new Cold War" with the USA, saying the country has been infected by a "political virus" compelling people to continually attack China.

The protest, in the shopping district of Causeway Bay, had been organised anonymously online, though a number of pro-democracy politicians did set up information booths in the street.

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