English News

  • youtube
  • facebook
  • twitter

Rights group condemns China’s National Security Law for suppressing freedom of expression in Hong Kong

Representative Image (Photo: Reuters)

The International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) has condemned the imposition of the draconian National Security Law (NSL) by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in Hong Kong in 2020, which has played a huge role in suppressing the freedom of expression in the city.

On the fourth anniversary of the NSL, the ISHR expressed support for the views of United Nations experts, calling it one of the most “draconian” laws ever adopted in terms of repressing freedom of expression in Hong Kong.

The NSL has consistently faced criticism for the severe repression of Hong Kong residents.

A report titled ‘The National Security Law in Hong Kong: Adverse Impacts and Increased Risk of Reprisals’ highlighted that under the National Security Law, many activists have been jailed, and many NGOs have faced difficulties in operating.

“Since the promulgation of the NSL, Hong Kong’s once-vibrant environment for civil society has undergone a sea change. Many activists have been prosecuted and jailed for their activities. Many NGOs, both local and international, have decided to cease operations or dramatically shift their work, while other activists and NGO workers have chosen to – or been forced to – abandon their rights work or leave the city and continue work in exile,” the report stated.

“As explained by the Chairman of the Board of Amnesty International, whose regional office was located in Hong Kong until December 2021, the NSL has made it effectively impossible for human rights organizations in Hong Kong to work freely and without fear,” it added.

The relationship between the government and civil society is facing new strains, directly linked to the National Security Law, impacting the political climate in the city.

The Hong Kong Legislative Council (LegCo) used to provide a platform for NGOs and civil society in general to express their views on a range of human rights issues.

However, after the adoption of the NSL and the skewed ‘patriots only’ election, the LegCo no longer maintains a commitment to allowing alternative views or civil society voices to be heard.

Since 2021, there has been no public official agenda item where civil society groups in Hong Kong were invited to give their views.

“Individuals or organizations based in Hong Kong – or even having links to Hong Kong – cannot reasonably continue to assume the ability to safely engage with the UN over human rights issues. The NSL directly places them at new and heightened risk of reprisals and intimidation,” the ISHR report further stated.