China’s Top Legislature Ends Meeting; No Hong Kong Announcement

China’s top legislative body ended its three-day meeting without announcing a widely-anticipated draft of the security law for Hong Kong, though the South China Morning Postindicated that details of the legislation will emerge soon via Chinese state media.

There was no announcement of the draft after the meeting concluded, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

The Chinese government decided to hold back the full draft as more changes are expected in the next week or two, the SCMP reported on Saturday, citing a source it didn’t identify, adding that Xinhua would provide details of the new law including its penalties.

It was agreed at the National People’s Congress Standing Committee meeting that the new legislation would aim to strike a balance with Hong Kong’s common law and human rights conventions, according to the SCMP report. The proposed law will authorize Hong Kong’s administration to deal with “the bulk of enforcement duties and prosecutions” and allow the central government to step in “under certain extreme conditions,” the SCMP reported.

The chief executive of Hong Kong will choose a judge from different levels of the judiciary for handling national security cases, according to online news website HK01, without saying how it got the information. The draft of the legislation doesn’t include a clause prohibiting judges with foreign nationalities from handling national security cases, the HK01 report said.

The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress starteddeliberations Thursday on national security legislation for Hong Kong, leading foreign governments and bodies to warn that the law may erode the financial center’s unique freedoms.

China’s legislative body on Saturday said it strongly condemns and opposes the European Parliament’s resolution on the legislation, saying it interfered in China’s internal affairs. The European Parliamenturged governments in Europe to consider taking China to the International Court of Justice over the proposed law.

The Standing Committee meeting was attended by 160 members, according to Xinhua.

— With assistance by Sharon Chen, Shuping Niu, and Apple Lam

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