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    China converts HK hotel into security office

    As the red Chinese emblem was fixed above the door, what was only recently a hotel on Hong Kong’s waterfront welcoming tourists became the city’s new national security office. On Wednesday (July 8) China revealed that they had converted Hong Kong’s former Metropark hotel — with its pool and prime views of Victoria Harbor — into temporary headquarters for an office to enfoce its new national security law for the city. Security was tight for the office’s opening on Wednesday. Hong Kongers that Reuters spoke to expressed surprise at how quickly it opened. “There has been no notice (of the new office). They didn’t notify the public and then blocked the road. All of a sudden there is so much going on I suddenly see on the news that a flag is raised, the road is closed, and so many (officials) are out on the streets. ” The law came into force just over a week ago. It punishes crimes of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces with up to life in prison. The law also empowers the new office to take enforcement action beyond existing Hong Kong laws in the most serious cases and take suspects into the mainland for trials in China’s Communist controlled courts. The Metropark hotel sits near Victoria Park, a central-city space popular for some of the biggest pro-democracy protests last year. The unveiling of the office was marked with a closed ceremony, with the newly appointed chief of the office, Zheng Yanxiong. Zheng rose to prominence during a crackdown on land rights protesters in the southern Chinese town of Wukan in 2011. He has extensive experience in propaganda and leaked footage of him during that time shows him berating villagers and calling foreign media “rotten”. Police have arrested at least 10 people, including a 15-year-old, under the new law for suspected threats to China’s national security.
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    World News from Reuters

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