Looming national security laws raise fresh fears for Hong Kong’s freedoms

Amid calls from Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing elite for sweeping new national security laws, government advisers and lawyers say the legislation is likely to be tougher than proposals shelved 14 years ago, raising fears about the city’s cherished freedoms. Those demanding urgency for the long-delayed Article 23 are using a fledgling independence movement in the former British colony as justification – even though the independence debate would have been allowed when Article 23 was first proposed in 2003. Lawyers, diplomats and activists fear the new pressure could lead to legal “overkill” in an open city already struggling with increased interference from Beijing’s Communist Party rulers.