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Civil society groups call on China to scrap National Security Law to save Hong Kong freedoms (Demo)

This statement was originally published on on 17 June 2020.

China’s proposed national security law for Hong Kong is a devastating assault on human rights and should be abandoned, more than 86 civil society organizations groups said today in a letter to Li Zhanshu, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPCSC).

Joint Letter to NPCSC Chairman Li Zhanshu, June 16, 2020

The proposed national security legislation is likely to be discussed at the NPCSC session from June 18 to 20, 2020, or at a special session by the end of June. The proposed law could come into force soon afterward, and quickly be used to crack down on Hong Kong’s freedoms.“China should abandon this effort to impose a national security law on Hong Kong immediately,” said Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch. “No government should invoke national security as a justification for repression.”

The groups emphasized that:

  • While the details of the forthcoming legislation remain unclear, comparable legislation in the mainland criminalizes overly broad, vague ‘offenses’ that can encompass any criticism of the government and be used against people peacefully exercising and defending their human rights
  • The law may allow agencies such as the Ministry of State Security and the National Security Bureau of the Ministry of Public Security – long known for serious rights violations in China – to operate in Hong Kong
  • Beijing’s imposition of the security legislation in Hong Kong contravenes the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s functional constitution, and violates international human rights protections in Hong Kong

The groups said in their letter that the NPCSC should:

abandon plans to introduce national security legislation for Hong Kong, as what is known about the draft law so far and the experiences with respective national security laws in mainland China strongly indicate that neither the law nor its application would conform to international human rights law and standards.


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