The Communist Party of China has passed a National Security Law for Hong Kong, which stands in direct violation of its obligations under the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the Hong Kong government's commitments as a signatory of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The law brings in a raft of vague and draconian charges, including for "subversion", "sedition", and "colluding with foreign political forces", designed to crush dissent in Hong Kong and curtail freedom of expression, association, and political and religious belief. It criminalises non-Hong Kong citizens abroad who apparently commit these offences, which I suppose must include myself and many other colleagues.
The law - only publicised after it was passed and signed by Chairman Xi Jinping - sets out that every "serious" crime under it carries a minimum of 10 years and a maximum of life in prison.
Among the collusion crimes, it says that behaviours such as calling for sanctions or "sowing hatred against the HK government" - such as by implication questioning the territory's rights record - are criminal offences that carry up to life imprisonment. In my lifetime I find it hard to recall a more breathtaking piece of authoritarian overreach.
Hong Kong is known for its vibrant civil society, rule of law and love of freedoms. This will shatter all of these qualities in one fell swoop. It is a constitutional coup, and a tragedy for its wonderful, freedom-loving people.
Less than 25 years ago, the UK handed Hong Kong back to an authoritarian state. The UK underwrote their futures, yet today China dismissed international law, leaving Hong Kongers suffering.
Hong Kong is now a rescue mission.
We need to get as many people out as safely as possible. Dominic Raab was right to use this as a last resort, but it is clearly now necessary. That they have been forced from their homes represents a terrible failure on the part of the international community. They do not want to leave. But as many will now have to leave, we have a moral and legal duty to make them welcome.
But this is not enough. The Government must respond proportionately. We need to show China that it can't get away with tearing up international treaties and abusing human rights. Together with the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, I have proposed that we bring forward legislation to rapidly accelerate efforts to audit and drastically reduce our strategic dependency on China. And we must do this with international partners in the free world as a matter of urgency.
The free world has failed Hong Kong. Taiwan will be next unless we take urgent action. In the same week that its campaign of forced sterilisation against the Uighur people was exposed, China has destroyed Hong Kong. They are indifferent to their growing pariah status, evidenced by their treatment of anyone who stands in their way. Yet the real failure has been in the way we, as free nations, have responded.
This latest assault on Hong Kong's law and freedoms, constitutes a legal Tiananmen Square moment for the free world. The Communist Party of China sees the effect on Hong Kong's status as collateral damage in the greater clash of values which the Chinese government believes it must win.
I wonder, does the free world recognise that we may even now have arrived at this generation's 1936 moment, when Germany occupied the Rhineland, and the world looked away?
In my lifetime I find it hard to recall a more breathtaking piece of authoritarian overreach.
Sir Iain Duncan Smith writes for the Telegraph.