In News: Hong Kong is expected to give China’s national security office a location on the western Kowloon Peninsula for a permanent base in the capital.
About Kowloon Peninsula
- The Kowloon Peninsula is a peninsula in Hong Kong’s territory that forms the southern part of the main landmass, alongside Victoria Harbour and facing Hong Kong island.
- Kowloon is the name given to the peninsula of Kowloon and the surrounding region of New Kowloon.
- Geographically, the name “Kowloon Peninsula” may also apply to the region south of the Beacon Hill, Lion Rock, Tate’s Cairn, Kowloon Peak, and other mountain ranges.
- The peninsula encompasses five of Hong Kong’s eighteen districts.
- The peninsula’s northeastern tip is home to Kowloon Bay.
- Hong Kong, a former British colony, was handed over to Chinese rule in 1997 with the promise of continued freedoms.
- These freedoms, say pro-democracy activists, are being whittled away, especially with the national security law cracking down on dissent.
What is the issue?
- Hong Kong’s contentious national security laws have been accepted by China’s legislature.
- The bill, aimed at quelling the city’s protests over the past year, will prohibit “any actions or practises” that threaten China’s national security, such as separatism, subversion, and terrorism – charges that are often used in mainland China to suppress activists and other political opponents.
- In a nutshell, the law prohibits China’s central government from sedition, secession, and subversion.
- The law would significantly increase Beijing’s control over Hong Kong, which was roiled by anti-government protests last year calling for more independence and autonomy from mainland China.
- It would also allow “national security agencies” to operate in the region, which could include Chinese security forces.
- Critics argue that it jeopardises Hong Kong’s civil liberties and undermines the “one nation, two systems” agreement that divides the region’s political, legal, and financial infrastructure from that of mainland China.