Hong Kong lawmakers last night rejected a motion condemning proposed anti-subversion legislation as a threat to rights and freedom, prompting western concerns about Beijing’s growing influence in squelching democratic ideals in the former British colony.
The move to defeat the pro-democracy motion indicates the government has already secured enough support in the legislature for the bill's likely safe passage before July next year, according to today’s South China Morning Post.
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The proposals are aimed at implementing bans on acts of ''treason,'' ''sedition,'' ''subversion'' and ''theft of state secrets'' – all as defined by Beijing.
The U.S., Britain and governments in Europe have expressed concerns, along with human rights groups, media bodies and legal experts, according to the paper.
In the debate, both the pro-democracy camp and the DAB recited their positions, formed since the government announced the proposal in September. Martin Lee Chu-ming, former leader of the Democrats, said the law would introduce mainland standards into Hong Kong.
''We should send this devil back to hell,'' he said.