June 20 (UPI) -- China's legislature on Saturday proposed a law that would set up a national security agency to crack down on dissent in the semi-autonomous zone, which has seen more than a year of protests over growing Chinese interference there.
The National People's Congress has been considering the controversial national security law in recent days and unveiled the new details Saturday. Leaders said the legislation is needed to eliminate terrorism, separatist activity, subversion of state power, and collusion with foreign or external forces to endanger national security.
BBC News said opponents to the law, though, say it further strips freedoms from the people of Hong Kong.
On Friday, the European Parliament voted on a resolution to bring China before the International Court of Justice over the new national security law. The body said the law violates the Sino-British Joint Declaration, the agreement under which Britain handed control of Hong Kong to the Chinese in 1997.
"They ... strongly condemn the new law as an assault on the city's autonomy, as well as China's constant and increasing interference in Hong Kong's internal affairs," the European Parliament said in a release on the issue.
The language of the law says it supersedes any existing Hong Kong laws.
It also allows Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam to appoint judges to hear national security cases. She has shown support for the new law, saying it won't undermine the "one country, two systems" approach to governing Hong Kong.
Earlier this week the Group of Seven urged the legislature to reconsider the national security law.
In a statement Wednesday, the foreign ministers of the G7 nations expressed "grave concern" over China's decision to impose the national security law they say is "not in conformity" with Hong Kong's constitution or Beijing's responsibilities under the U.N.-registered Sino-British Joint Declaration.
The statement, signed by the G7 countries of the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Britain, as well as the European Union, also expressed concern the law will "curtail and threaten" the rights and freedoms of all people who live under the rule of law and the existence of an independent justice system.
China has come under widespread international criticism after its rubber-stamp legislature near unanimously approved a bill late in May to criminalize acts of secession, sedition, subversion, terrorism and conspiring with foreign actors to threaten national security in Hong Kong. Specifics of the law have not been revealed.