Hong Kong passed strict security laws

Last Updated on March 21, 2024 4:44 am

Hong Kong has passed strict security laws. Authorities consider the law necessary for the stability of the country. But critics fear the new law will further erode civil liberties.

Known as Article 23, the law is aimed at curbing external interference and insurgency, with life imprisonment as the maximum penalty for such offences.

Less than two weeks later, the city’s pro-Beijing parliament finally passed the law.

The law already criminalizes secession, rebellion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong leader John Lee said the law is necessary to prevent potential subversion to create a destabilizing situation and prevent ideas of an independent Hong Kong.

He says this is a historic moment for the people of Hong Kong. For which everyone was waiting for 26 years.

China’s Vice Premier Ding Xuexiang said the speedy enactment of the new law would protect Hong Kong’s national interests and allow it to focus on economic development.

Since one such law was passed in 2020, many people have been arrested under the controversial National Security Act.

Sarah Brooks, Amnesty International’s China director, said the new law would cause another human rights disaster here.

Maya Wang, acting director of Human Rights Watch China, said it would “open a new era of authoritarianism in Hong Kong.”

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk called the new law “a retrograde step”.

UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron said it would further interfere with the former British colony’s “rights and freedoms”.

The ordinary people of Hong Kong have also expressed concern about this law. Their concern is mainly about the use of broad and vague definitions in the new law.

George, a private official, told the BBC he was most concerned about the definition of state secrets.

He said, suppose a group of colleagues went to lunch, and were discussing our work matters. Will it leak any state secrets? If someone tells secrets and spreads information, will we be arrested? For these reasons we are very afraid of this matter. Because, easily we can be accused of any crime.

George said he noticed a new trend among his colleagues since the previous law went into effect. He estimates that a fifth of the people where he worked have quit in the past three years. Many have left the country.

Corporate consultant Lease has similar concerns about the new law. Because the law deals with external interference. And it deals with receiving financial assistance from foreign governments, political organizations or individuals.

He works in an international organization. There the definition of international organization is very broad.

Liz is now in Singapore. His concern is that whenever his company publishes a research report with his name on it, he will be put at risk of prosecution.

In response to a BBC question about residents’ concerns, the Hong Kong government said that Article 23 is not for ordinary people, but for people who threaten national security.

Law abiding citizens will not be covered by this law if they make an inadvertent mistake. But of course, if someone threatens the national security, this law will apply to him. A government spokesman said.

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