China's controversial national security law for Hong Kong took effect at 11 p.m. Tuesday, just an hour before July 1st, the 23rd anniversary of the territory's handover from Britain to China.
It also came a matter of hours after Beijing's legislature passed the law.
For the first time, Hong Kong has revealed the full scope of the law, which imposes penalties of up to life in prison.
Despite widespread fears the law will undermine the liberties of people living in the global financial hub, Hong Kong's pro-Beijing Chief Executive welcomed its passage.
"Despite the escalating tensions in society in recent years, I remain hopeful that with full conviction in one country, two systems, and upon implementation of the national security legislation, Hong Kong will ride out the political storm since last June, and emerge stronger with stability restored. I and the Hong Kong SAR government are determined to capitalize on our strengths, harness the opportunities presented by the country's development, and provide Hong Kong people with brighter prospects."
She also urged the international community to respect the decision.
However, the U.S. and other Western powers redoubled their efforts to pressure Beijing to withdraw the legislation.
The White House released a statement Tuesday, explaining that as Beijing now treats Hong Kong as "One Country, One System," so must the U.S.
Dozens of other Western powers, including Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand, also raised concerns.
Speaking on behalf of 27 countries, Britain's ambassador to the UN in Geneva addressed the UN Human Rights Council, urging China and Hong Kong to reconsider the law.
Kim Hyo-sun, Arirang News.