When Hong Kong’s legislature passed its domestic national security bill last Tuesday, it was big news around the world.

The fact that all 89 lawmakers — including the Legislative Council’s president, Andrew Leung, who normally does not vote — backed the controversial legislation, known as the Safeguarding National Security Ordinance, was highlighted especially by mainland Chinese media.

Clearly, this was a proud moment for Hong Kong’s legislature. Even voting in the National People’s Congress, China’s rubber-stamp parliament, often betrays internal differences with an abstention or two — although all items on its agenda are always passed. For example, when the NPC voted in 2021 to overhaul Hong Kong’s electoral system, resulting in the current “all patriots” Legislative Council, one delegate abstained.