Hong Kong’s reality under new national security law

ABC News’ Brittyn Clennett reports on the changes facing Hong Kong residents, and what they’re trying to do in the face of a new law that critics say targets protesters.
10:36 | 07/23/20

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Transcript for Hong Kong’s reality under new national security law
Much we reported earlier on the escalating tensions between the US and China but there's an uneasy battle happening within that China's borders. In home call the ruling Chinese party imposing a new national security law on that Citi Smith to crack down on any opposition to the government. After several weeks under the law we want to find out how it's being felt on the ground in Hong Kong were cool we cases. Have begun to creep up in recent days further complicating efforts of Hong Kong residents to keep up their protests. ABC's Brit Clint has this report. Every year on June full for the monster three decades a sea of candles light top Hong Kong's Victoria park to remember those who died during the Tiananmen crackdown of 1989. Every time limit fee that can donate in Victoria park in the past fifty years you've you've you know what it is something that. Guns and tanks and jails. Kendall crash. It's the only June 4 vigil of its size on Chinese soil. Only possible because free speech and free assembly has been protected in the former British colony since attended a back to China. Under the one country two systems framed black which granted Hong Kong semi autonomy. Just miles away in mainland China which tenements scholar wrote we know grew up. Any reference to the incident is heavily since it's seen as criticism of the Beijing government Y Hong Kong is so important tool. Point this year's. Because that they have been to be kind of night. The candle light and but the winds in Hong Kong a shifting. After a year of protests and the rest Beijing Faust practice of VNU national security nor for the city. This year the police banned the vigil citing combine a virus manages. The tens of thousands turned out in defiance anyway. Removing barriers to end to the park peacefully commemorating fearing it may be the last time. When the national security bill was finally enacted in Hong Kong at the beginning of July 10 is predictably fledged. But it could days off to woods that a very apparent new reality in Hong Kong was quickly joining. Calling for independence was immediately a client's. Stand with political slogans fans protest is instead holding up blank pieces of paper and plastic nights. And Beijing's tightening grip even found some prime real estate's. It's like Victoria pocket any rights and. Mainland Chinese security agents will now have an unobstructed view of any future gentlemen vigils. The national security nor targets what China calls crime of secession. Subversion terrorism and collusion with foreign forces. The little carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. And in some cases suspects could be sent to mainland China. The trial. In an ironic twist this eagle has far more wide ranging implications than extradition bill which stocks lost his protests. And one of the most well known faces of Hong Kong's democracy movement Nathan wolf late Hong Kong a day off to the new law came into force. Where they would vaccinate their top choice. In the well writing and playing don't let that would be blocked heart muscle that got I don't fault call Eileen hello. This location. He's now in self imposed exile in London so he can freely lobby foreign governments as he did this week meeting with US secretary of state Mike pump had. These would be considered a crime under the new lol. What is it about national security orbit. Worries you so much. Out. Well the law is written in such a fake. Pattern that the committee talk he could interpret. Arbitrarily. Nathan north fellow activists like Joshua won't say signs of this chilling effect is already evident in Hong Kong's libraries. Have been. Egyptian war. And he can see it says the new lending copies available on the shelf. This book coming up. Different life things at home. Let them. The government departments in charge of the library said that they have to make sure all or that books are in compliance of local rules. Even amongst the notoriously aggressive and freewheeling press corps. Journalists like Oscar Lou feel uneasy navigating the new landscape. I worry about the tremendous and in the future with the light in the main entrance being censored by those states. I didn't old how much freedom we have the next to do our job to ensure the puppet right to know. The things they should know how do you feel about Carrie lands response the chief executive of Hong Kong. Pat response to questions about the media saying well. I can guarantee they'll be protected. If you can guarantee an upgrade to break the national security law I would absolutely tell you how I do about her. People along coasts but now and I don't know whether I'm in the position to criticize an official. In Hong Kong. Than usual also appears to be rattling the business sector in Asia's international finance top. A recent survey by the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong showing most US firms operating in the city are seriously consents. People are worried about the ambiguity. Of the law and a lack of definitions. In particular areas should they're worried as well about whether Hong Kong's rule of law which is absolutely the key it in distinguishing Hong Kong from China. I'm it is actually going to remain in taxed. Based around this law. And it also worry about this reference tube collusion. Om and meeting that could Americans if they say something wrong. If they have a certain conversation. Be seen as colluding. Against a national security of China. International condemnation of the lol from western countries has been swift and unanimous. With the United States also needing to scrap Hong Kong special economic status for its oppressive actions against the people of Hong Kong. Hong Kong is beginning to feel like a battleground. Or that New Berlin. Between the US and and China. Ronny tong advisor to Hong Kong's lead at Carey land says the international scorn is unfounded. A lot of the criticism seems to be confident that the fact that. It was done by China and that itself is a sin. For the one country two systems. He'll do moms that they should be mutual respect. Do not just from Beijing to Hong Kong but also from Hong Kong to Beijing. Wants an attempt. By Beijing to strike a proper balance. Between safeguarding the safety of the nation. And preserving recalled items and freedoms of the people won't call now you may disagree. With how that bonds was being struck. But if you look up to the mall you see that I had an attempt was made to strike a balance. This is what the former pro democracy lawmaker has to say about claims that the Red Line is or weight shifting. The Red Line as far as we see is very simple. You don't go and absolutely. You know hey did you shoot all of the nations who don't have okay. You know independence a phone call the solo is that these two guys who touched everything goes. It's alright it's what he's saying to Hong Kong is our friend. Well have faith in our judicial system. Have faith didn't Hong Kong people ruling Hong Kong. The system will be put to the test in September a dirty elections for the legislative council. In the wake of the lord Democrats held an unofficial poll to narrow down their field of candidates despite warnings from officials that the call may violate than usual. More than 600000. People tend to house. With that shark caught helping a rest of full pay plus being gentle afraid time since you'll continue to fight. Under the national surveillance that already implied now is not that I'm to surrender and actions Vick out of Iraq it proves how little plug into all of campaign. Article 38 the national security lore says backs. Anyone it's no matter where they aren't well. Are you still in danger are still just lend Ainge. Yes of course I want to fade out not in danger but that from the compatibility and hold on I have no room do. Mike could enjoy it. Eighteen year old eyes sank his volunteering for Joshua long's campaign during his summer holiday. Obviously. Obviously. Somewhere but having trouble back at the end of the day. If they can read the full toting a black people pay taken the rest of anything until. Ultimately interpretations of how the Communist Party I you optimistic about Hong Kong's pizza. As Hong Kong settles into this new reality there are now big questioned mount hanging at the width of the June 4 tenement feature will ever be tolerated here again. Say they don't consent around wet and June at the fools and events. To commemorate justice will be allowed. More fun understand. As I say there is nothing to provoke him to prevent any of the provisions. In a massive security at all which changes the situation. My guess is getting out right this is changing people's patriots that I think people need to understand I think you need to understand. There have freed formal winner is being introduced will in some way. Change the behavior of the community this is not the original one but here is system but it's this behavior change almost of the night party drew -- high seas as a red flag. Hoping it won't bring an end to Hong Kong's long tradition of remembering what happened in Tiananmen holding its years ago. I think the biggest he actually came from the fact that you do not know a thing happen. And the only reason that we used to doing so many officers do and doing what we are doing. Despite the fact that we really difficult is because we want the next generation will be free from lord of this fear. For ABC news break managed Hong Kong. All right our thanks to break.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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