The National People's Congress Standing Committee swiftly approved the landmark national security law on Tuesday, signaling Communist Party leader Xi Jinping's desire to seize more control to squash pro-democracy protests in the city to stop subversion, terrorism, separatism, and collusion with external forces.
The new law could jeopardize civil liberties and Hong Kong's independent judicial system, which has allowed the financial hub to thrive over the decades economically. President Donald Trump warned he would disband Hong Kong's preferential trade status - and in response to the passage of the law in the overnight hours - Washington released a headline indicating it will bar the export of weapons and sensitive technology to the city.
The most significant penalty under the new law is life imprisonment - something that will likely deter protesters from organizing on city streets.
Sure enough, famous HK pro-democracy protester Joshua Wong tweeted: "It [new law] marks the end of Hong Kong that the world knew before." Conversely, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam told the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva that the international community must "respect our country's right to safeguard national security."