Chinese lawmakers have approved a proposal for sweeping new national security legislation in Hong Kong, defying a threat by US President Donald Trump.
The U.S. leader has vowed to respond strongly to the law that democracy advocates claim will curb essential freedoms in the city.
The National People’s Congress, China’s security legislature, approved the draft decision by a vote of 2,878-1 on Thursday at its annual session in Beijing.
There were six abstentions.
Chinese officials could now take months to spell out the details of laws banning subversion, secession, terrorism and foreign interference before they’re given to Hong Kong’s Beijing-backed administration to promulgate.
The move to bypass the semi-autonomous city’s local Legislative Council has alarmed Hong Kong’s pro-democracy activists and opposition politicians.
It risks spawning yet more protests in the city and could potentially prompt companies to flee if the laws undermine the independent judiciary in the Asian financial hub.
The Trump administration on Wednesday took the significant step of saying it could no longer certify Hong Kong’s autonomy from China, which was promised before the British handed the city back in 1997.
The move could trigger a range of actions by the Trump administration, from sanctions on Chinese officials to revoking the city’s special trading status with the US.