Government: Criticism of security law for Hong Kong

European foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has expressed concern about the possible impact of the new Hong Kong security law on the rights and freedoms of people in China's special administrative region.

Government: Criticism of security law for Hong Kong

European foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has expressed concern about the possible impact of the new Hong Kong security law on the rights and freedoms of people in China's special administrative region. After the controversial law was adopted by the pro-Beijing Legislative Council in Hong Kong, Borrell's statement in Brussels said it could "exacerbate the erosion of fundamental freedoms and political pluralism."

The law could “significantly impair” the work of the EU representation and the consulates general of the EU states in Hong Kong and impact European citizens, organizations and companies in the Asian metropolis. "This also raises questions about Hong Kong's long-term attractiveness as an international economic center," said the EU foreign policy chief. What appears to be “particularly worrying,” in his assessment, are the broad provisions and vague definitions that relate to “foreign interference and state secrets.”

Crushing the democracy movement in 2020

The law gives the authorities of the former British crown colony, among other things, additional powers to take action against critical voices. It follows on from the security law introduced in 2020 after the suppression of the democracy movement in Hong Kong, with which Beijing strengthened its grip on the actually autonomously administered special administrative region and already restricted many of the freedoms enjoyed by the seven million Hong Kong residents until then.

Human rights organizations criticized sharply. The new law ushers in “a new era of authoritarianism” in Hong Kong, wrote Maya Wang of Human Rights Watch on the X (formerly Twitter) platform. “Now, even possessing a book critical of the Chinese government can violate national security and lead to years in prison in Hong Kong.” Hong Kong's government should end its "aggressive attack on fundamental rights". Foreign governments should hold Beijing accountable with targeted sanctions against Hong Kong officials.

Criticism also comes from outside the EU

British Foreign Secretary David Cameron said the new law undermines the fulfillment of binding obligations under international law such as the 1997 Joint Declaration between Britain and China on the return of the Crown Colony and the UN Convention on Civil and Political Rights. “Broad definitions of national security and foreign interference will make it more difficult for those living, working and doing business in Hong Kong,” Cameron said. "It will entrench the culture of self-censorship that dominates Hong Kong's social and political landscape today." It will also enable freedom of expression, assembly and media freedom to be further undermined.

US State Department spokesman Vedant Patel also said these types of measures have the "potential to accelerate the closure of Hong Kong's once-open society." There is concern about the far-reaching and “vaguely” defined provisions of the law.

NEXT NEWS