June 21, 2020 / 2:16 PM / 20 days ago

Chinese lawmakers to meet again in June, may pass security law, say reports

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s top legislative body will meet on June 28, about a week after its last gathering, the official Xinhua news agency said on Sunday, a shorter than usual gap following the announcement of details of a draft Hong Kong security law.

The draft law has alarmed foreign governments and Hong Kong democracy activists, who are concerned that Beijing is eroding the high degree of autonomy granted to the territory when it was handed over to China in 1997 from British rule.

The National People’s Congress Standing Committee, which usually meets every two months, is due to meet from June 28 to 30 in Beijing, Xinhua said.

It did not say whether the Hong Kong national security law was on the agenda.

The Global Times, a tabloid published by the People’s Daily, cited “observers” as saying the parliamentary body would likely enact the Hong Kong security law by July 1.

Pro-democracy groups rally in Hong Kong every year on July 1, the anniversary of the city’s handover to the mainland.

Under China’s legislative process, new laws typically require three readings before being passed, but some can pass on the second reading if there is sufficient consensus.

Details of the new law show China will have overarching powers over the enforcement of a new national security law in Hong Kong, in what would be the deepest change to the city’s way of life since it returned to Chinese rule.

Reporting by Dominique Patton and Yew Lun Tian; Editing by Edmund Blair

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