China's New Security Law Criminalizes Advocacy for Democracy in Hong Kong by Anyone in the World
Do you support democracy & autonomy in Hong Kong?
by Countable | 7.8.20
What’s the story?
- The new national security law adopted by the Chinese Communist Party that seeks to stifle dissent in Hong Kong has a much broader scope than initially anticipated ― in fact, you may break it in the eyes of the CCP simply by offering a comment in support of Hong Kong’s democracy on this article.
- The draconian law aims to prevent a recurrence of the pro-democracy protests that gripped Hong Kong last year. It took effect last week and makes crimes of secession, sedition, subversion, terrorism, or collusion with foreign forces punishable by life in prison. It can also allow for the confiscation of any property obtained through such offenses.
- But one provision, known as Article 38, goes much further by stating, “This Law shall apply to offences under this Law committed against the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region from outside the Region by a person who is not a permanent resident of the Region.”
- Wang Minyao, a Chinese-American lawyer based in the U.S., confirmed to Axios that this provision of the law would leave anyone who advocates for democracy in Hong Kong or criticizes the CCP or the Hong Kong government at risk of punishment if they ever visit Hong Kong:
“It literally applies to every single person on the planet. This is how it reads. If I appear at a congressional committee in D.C. and say something critical, that literally would be a violation of this law.”
- As extreme as this provision is, it’s actually a codification of the CCP’s longstanding practices. This year a Chinese student was sentenced to six months in prison for a tweet criticizing CCP leader Xi Jinping he sent in the U.S. while attending the University of Minnesota.
- Pro-democracy advocates in Hong Kong have already faced arrest under the law, and Hong Kong’s libraries have begun to pull non-compliant books off the shelves.
- The implementation of the national security law essentially spells the end of the “one country, two systems” that the People’s Republic of China agreed to when Britain handed over Hong Kong. The agreement required the PRC to allow Hong Kong to practice a democratic form of government under common law for 50 years, through 2047.
- The Trump administration has responded to the national security law by deeming Hong Kong no longer autonomous, which allows the federal government to impose sanctions on CCP officials responsible & end special trade status for the territory.
- Britain has responded by offering citizenship to nearly 3 million Hong Kong residents who want to leave, and members of Congress are drafting legislation to offer them refugee visas in the U.S. ― but the PRC has indicated it may prohibit Hong Kongers from leaving the territory.
— Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Voice of America Cantonese Service - Iris Tong / Public Domain)
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