The Chinese government has adopted a new law that will severely crackdown on pro-democracy efforts in Hong Kong, as well as create new government agencies for intelligence gathering and law enforcement in the province.
China's legislature passed the bill and President Xi Jinping signed it into law on Tuesday, one day before the July 1 anniversary of Hong Kong's transfer from British to Chinese possession. Pro-democracy demonstrations often take place on the anniversary.
The legislature did not release a copy of the bill before it was passed, as it typically does. The so-called national security law went into effect Tuesday night.
"The fact that the Chinese authorities have now passed this law without the people of Hong Kong being able to see it tells you a lot about their intentions," said Joshua Rosenzweig of Amnesty International. "Their aim is to govern Hong Kong through fear from this point forward."
Under the new law, "inciting separatism" is now a crime in Hong Kong. With its passage, numerous activist organizations that promoted democracy in the province have disbanded or ceased operations.
Police in Hong Kong have arrested people protesting peacefully against the law, and denied applications for protests held to mark the province's July 1 anniversary for the first time.
Pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong criticized the move on Twitter.