Tag: Security Law

France to rewrite the contested “article 24” on security law

France to rewrite the contested “article 24” on security law

Article 24: The French parliamentary majority will suspend and “completely rewrite” the hotly contested article 24 of the new security law. The former Interior Minister Christophe Castaner, today group leader at the National Assembly of En Marche, the party of President Emmanuel Macron, said on Monday. The measure known as “Article 24”, part of a “global security” law, would have placed strict limits on the ability of the press to disseminate images of law enforcement officers on duty. Protests against the reform brought tens of thousands of French people to the streets last Saturday.

The demonstrations resulted in clashes with the police with dozens of arrests and injuries, in a climate of tension aggravated by the beating of a music producer of African origins at the hands of four policemen. Three policemen have been indicted for “intentional violence by a person who holds public authority” and “forging a public document,” the Paris prosecutor Remy Heitz announced yesterday. These are the three agents at the center of Loopsider’s video unveiled Thursday that triggered a national scandal and led President Emmanuel Macron to express his shock.

The police officer, who allegedly thrown tear gas into a music studio in the 17th arrondissement of Paris, was charged with “voluntary violence” on Zecler and nine other boys in the basement of the studio. The prosecution had requested pre-trial detention for the first three and probation for the fourth, but the judge jailed two and left two more under probation.

“This is neither a withdrawal nor a suspension, but a total rewriting of the text,” pounded Castaner, speaking of “a proposal that we will make to the government.”  The three majority groups” (LREM, Agir, and MoDem) will implement this new draft as part of a collective effort. From Monday evening, “we will meet the prime minister and interested government members for a first exchange,” he said. “We can, therefore, within this framework and within our respective constitutional prerogatives, discuss the law and the timetable.”

Macron had already met Prime Minister Jean Castex, ministers and heads of majority parliamentary groups at the Elysée at noon on issues of sovereignty, police, and security. For Castaner, the objective is simple: to strengthen the police security but also to guarantee the fundamental right to free information. “We sought the balance on this article 24 was not unanimously perceived, and we acknowledge it,” added Castaner. “When such a misunderstanding continues to intensify on such a fundamental topic, we have to question ourselves collectively,” Castaner explained during a press conference at the Assemblée Nationale.

In lieu of China imposing new law in Hong Kong, UK to offer “citizenship route” to HK citizens
Asia Pacific Focus

In lieu of China imposing new law in Hong Kong, UK to offer “citizenship route” to HK citizens

China has been facing criticism over the new law imposing on Hong Kong that would devoid the country of its “independent” status and freedom to “protest”, with HK coming directly under the jurisdiction of China mainland.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson told Times in an interview that UK would offer a route of citizenship to HK residents in case the security law by China is imposed on the country.

UK and other allies like U.S. and Australia are already discussing on the mode of action and change in relations with HK, if China imposes the new law on Hong Kong – in which case the same relations with HK would be unlawful as would be undermining Beijing’s authority.

On Wednesday, UK PM Boris Johnson confirmed that in case of law imposition, the Hong Kong citizens with BNO (British National Overseas) passports would be allowed to enter UK without any visa and allowed to stay up to a year, as against 6 months as per earlier laws. The passport holders would be further allowed to work in UK as an extension to immigration rights.

Approximately 350,000 Hong Kong citizens have a valid BNO passport and more than 2.6 million are eligible for it.

PM Boris Johnson clarified that if need be Britain would take this step for HK citizens willingly and would not “walk away”.

“If China proceeds to justify their fears, then Britain could not in good conscience shrug our shoulders and walk away; instead we will honour our obligations and provide an alternative,” PM Johnson told the Times.

Lord Patten, the last British governor to Hong Kong supported UK’s stand as being “politically and morally right.” He accused China of its continuous “bullying” tactics. He said that it is not against China but the fact that China’s communist regime cannot stand the HK’s policies – that is everything which President Xi Jinping dislikes.

He further said that this is the “era marking beginning of realism with China.”

Hong Kong had been the colony of Britain which was handed over to China in 1997. According to the terms of treaty, Hong Kong enjoys certain freedoms which are devoid in China mainland. These set of freedom policies are set in a mini-constitution known as Basic Law.

BNO passports were granted to HK citizens who were born before handover to China in 1997. These passports allow holders to enjoy many perks and protection from UK foreign policies, they are still not eligible to work or stay for more than 6 months in UK.

The proposed action under immigration and citizenship route by UK for Hong Kong citizens is believed to offer some respite and opportunities for people fearing China law implementation.

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