Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday signed the controversial Hong Kong National Security Law, boosting the influence of the Beijing government in the autonomous region.

This came hours after the Chinese People’s Assembly, the country’s top legislature, signed the law, which was opposed by the United States and several Western countries.

The local Global Times said the Chinese president signed a decree imposing Hong Kong’s new National Security Law.

This law criminalizes any attempts to undermine the Beijing authorities in Hong Kong.

Earlier yesterday, the United States revoked the special trading position it was granting to Hong Kong, which could have implications for the region’s future as the largest financial and commercial center in Asia.

The UK, Australia, and Canada have also previously expressed deep concerns about the law, which they say can be used to stifle dissent.

Beijing has rejected the accusations, stressing that it will not tolerate the issue of being weak in its “internal affairs”.

The law, which aims to counter what China calls “separatism, conspiracy, terrorism and foreign interference” tendencies, came after demonstrations in the region since March 2019 against a bill authorizing regional authorities to hand over wanted men to China for trial.

Hong Kong manages its internal affairs independently, but it follows Beijing in foreign and defense policies, and observers believe that the influence of the Chinese government on Hong Kong is steadily increasing.

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