03:12 GMT14 August 2020
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Australia is "actively considering" offering safe haven to Hong Kong residents following the enactment of the Chinese law on national security in the special administrative region that has sparked mass protests, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Thursday.

    "We are considering [it] very actively and there are proposals that I asked to be brought forward several weeks ago," Morrison told reporters, as quoted by the local ABC News broadcaster when asked if Australia would offer a safe haven for the Chinese region's residents.

    According to the prime minister, these proposals will be reviewed by the cabinet after "the final touches will be put" on them.

    "When we have made a final decision on those arrangements I'll make an announcement, but if you're asking are we prepared to step up and provide support, the answer is yes," the official added.

    On Wednesday, London took similar measures by simplifying the procedure for obtaining a residence permit in the UK for Hong Kong residents who are citizens of the UK's overseas territories.

    The new national security bill penalizing secession, subversion and terrorism in the special administrative region was adopted by Chinese lawmakers and signed by leader Xi Jinping on Tuesday.

    The move subsequently sparked a fresh wave of protests in Hong Kong, as residents fear their rights may be infringed upon, and negative comments from several Western officials, who claim it would undermine the city’s autonomy.

    However, according to Beijing, the law will punish illegal activities without harming the existing democratic freedoms of Hong Kong residents.

    The demonstrations were promptly followed by dozens of arrests warranted by the new legislation.

    security, law, China, Hong Kong, Australia
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