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Amnesty to shut down Hong Kong offices, cites China’s National Security Law

China's intervention in Kong Hong has forced NGOs and activists to wind up work (Photo: IANS)

International human rights organisation Amnesty International plans to shut down its Hong Kong operations. It has two offices in Hong Kong which it will close by the end of the year due to the National Security Law.

In a statement on its website, the organisation said: "The local ‘section’ office will cease operations on 31 October while the regional office – which is part of Amnesty’s global International Secretariat – is due to close by the end of 2021. Regional operations will be moved to the organization’s other offices in the Asia-Pacific".

Anjhula Mya Singh Bais, chair of Amnesty’s International Board said: "This decision, made with a heavy heart, has been driven by Hong Kong’s national security law, which has made it effectively impossible for human rights organizations in Hong Kong to work freely and without fear of serious reprisals from the government".

Amnesty said that Hong Kong has been an ideal base for international civil society organisations but the targeting of human rights organisations and trade unions by the authorities has made it difficult for it to operate.

The Amnesty statement said that among its successes in the city were the abolition of the death penalty as well as
"exposing evidence of excessive use of force by police during the 2019 mass protests".

China had cracked down on Hong Kong organisations, activists and students in 2020 after it was challenged with a deluge of pro-democracy protests in 2019.

Under wide-ranging National Security Law, which has been termed as draconian, Beijing curbed the rights of the people by placing restrictions on the city's judicial autonomy. The law also made it easy for China to crackdown on people it thought were promoting secessionism and collusion with foreign forces.  

This comes nearly a month after another activist organisation decided to disband in the megacity. A Hong Kong-based pro-democracy group that used to organise annual commemoration for students killed in the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown has decided to disband. Two of its members were arrested and it was facing an investigation under the National Security Law. Beijing had also frozen its assets worth $283,000.

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