Western Countries Jointly Condemn Erosion of Freedom
05/28/2020 Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that the National People’s Congress (NPC), which is the top legislature in China, passed controversial new legislation on national security for Hong Kong today.
The resolution was submitted on Thursday afternoon and approved by 2,878 votes to 1, and 6 abstentions. Details of the law will be drawn up in the coming weeks by the NPC’s Standing Committee. It is expected to be added to Annex III of the Basic Law and applied to Hong Kong through promulgation before September.
Although the details have yet to be determined, during the NPC meetings in the last few days, a few suggestions were announced to guide the direction of the proposed national security law.
Many are aware that there would be an establishment of Chinese security agencies in Hong Kong in order to uphold national security within the Special Administrative Region. The latest document also says that the law will cover not just “acts” that threaten the state, but also “activities” that endanger national security, which concerns many, as this is too loosely defined and could be used to even target bystanders during a demonstration. China’s track record of using “national security” to persecute dissidents leaves critics worried for Hong Kong’s future.
The United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and Australia immediately reprimanded China in response to the vote, saying that this legislation would threaten freedom and breach a 1984 Sino-British agreement on the autonomy of the former colony. In a letter to European Union states on May 26, the EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell has also stated that China’s move “affects not only our direct interests in Hong Kong, but also the maintenance of the rules-based international order where legal and political commitments are to be respected.”
The Chairman of the Hong Kong Baptist Convention (HKBC), Rev. Hing Choi Lo, said in a statement to all of its member churches, “Today the problem facing us is, ‘How can the Church stands its ground in this land?’ Like what has been mentioned by scholars, when the Church thinks it is ‘acting justly and loving mercy,’ but the authorities consider the Church to be overthrowing [the regime], what choices do we have? Do we dance with the authorities’ baton?”
Gina Goh, ICC’s Regional Manager for Southeast Asia, said, “ICC urges the international community to take necessary measures to respond and condemn China’s disregard of its 50-year ‘One Country, Two Systems’ promise to Hong Kong, and Beijing’s ramped-up oppression of the people of Hong Kong. It only took 23 years for Hong Kong to be reduced to a constant battleground for freedoms and human rights, with thousands of youngsters arrested and hundreds of disappearances or deaths. It is frightening to think what the next 27 years will mean for the city that was once called the Pearl of the Orient. The world must not sit in silence.”