All countries need and have national security laws that put bounds on the conduct of its citizens and visitors so why if China’s so different?
There is an excellent book titled “The Dictators Handbook” which explains in the decades and centuries past, dictators would simply round up and kill the people they did not like, but through the last half of the 20th century increased communication and public scrutiny made those techniques for control dangerous.
One only has to think of the Arab Spring or collapse of the Soviet Union to see dozens of examples how dictators came to unhappy ends when their citizens rose up. This about Romania’s Nicolae Ceaușescu
Cuba’s, Russia’s and China’s leaders have learned the lessons and as “The Dictators Handbook” explains, most dictators today, simply pass vague laws which they enforce selectively on their opponents and critics.
A classic example of this legal dodge is a China’s imposition of a new National Security Law on Hong Kong.
China re-introduced the contentious new law June 20th 2020, brought it into force just 10 days later on June 30th 2020 and immediately started harsh enforcement:
Put simply most security laws in Western Democracies define what citizens cannot do in some detail, but China’s Hong Kong law leaves the details up to judges which are controlled by the CCP government.