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Protests in Hong Kong as China makes new attempt to increase influence on the territory

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Hong Kong pro-democracy lawmakers holding up placards are blocked by security as they protest during a meeting chaired by pro-Beijing lawmakers on May 22, 2020
Hong Kong pro-democracy lawmakers holding up placards are blocked by security as they protest during a meeting chaired by pro-Beijing lawmakers on May 22, 2020   -   Copyright  ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP
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Protesters gathered in Hong Kong on Friday, May 22, following the opening of China's National People's Congress (NPC).

China's legislators are due to take up long-stalled efforts to impose a national security law that could limit opposition activity in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong executive chief Carrie Lam said on Friday she was ready to "fully cooperate" with Beijing to enforce the national security law that the Chinese regime intends to impose.

NPC spokesperson Zhang Yesui said the bill aimed at “establishing and improving the legal system and enforcement mechanisms for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to safeguard national security.”

The bill also aims at fighting "treason, secession, sedition (and) subversion".

This appears to confirm speculations that China will sidestep the semi-autonomous territory’s own lawmaking body to crack down on activity Beijing considers subversive.

The measure has prompted complaints by opposition figures.

Scuffles broke out in the Hong Kong Legislative Council on Friday when opposition members protested against the move, with a pro-Beijing legislator forcibly dragged out of the chamber.

Thousands of delegates from across China are in Beijing at the moment for this year’s annual session of the country’s legislative and advisory bodies.

Meetings got delayed by more than two months because of the coronavirus outbreak.

President Xi Jinping and prime minister Li Keqiang, are presiding at the congress, with Li delivering a lengthy speech to summarise the past year’s achievements and lay out priorities for the coming 12 months.