Fifty-three countries at the U.N. Human Rights Council, led by Cuba on Tuesday, June 30, backed the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) new national security law for Hong Kong, which is widely viewed as the death knell for the city’s autonomy.

Cuba read out the statement in favor of the new law in Tuesday’s session for the 53 countries that were in agreement, while the UK came out with 26 others countries opposing it, according to Axios.

The sweeping anti-sedition law laid out penalties as severe as life in prison for the crimes of secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with foreign forces—which rights advocates and legal scholars deem will be used to stifle dissidence in Hong Kong.

“The CCP implemented its national security law on Hong Kong, in violation of the commitments it made to the Hong Kong people—and disregarding Hong Kongers’ human rights and fundamental freedoms. A free Hong Kong was one of the world’s most stable, prosperous, and dynamic cities,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted on Friday. “Now Hong Kong will become just another communist-run city.”

The UK, which turned over control of Hong Kong to the CCP in 1997, has condemned the new law as a threat to the city’s freedom. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday that the UK would offer a path to citizenship for eligible Hong Kong residents.

Xinhua, a Chinese state media, reported that Cuba and 52 others countries believed that the law was beneficial for the stability of the “one country, two systems” principle and Hong Kong’s prosperity, and guarantees that Hong Kong residents can exercise their freedom in a “safe environment.”

The U.N. Council has been sharply criticized as many countries with records of human rights abuses have joined its elected members. 

At least 40 countries that backed the CCP have signed onto its Belt and Road infrastructure project and many of the African countries are trying to renegotiate debt payments with the CCP due to the fallouts of the CCP Virus (coronavirus) pandemic, noted Axios.