ACT is standing with the people of Hong Kong today in condemning the passage of a new national security law.
“The news from Hong Kong is bleak, but sadly not surprising,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.
“The rights to freedom of speech, expression, and association have officially come to a bitter end with the passage of the Hong Kong national security law.
“Freedom of the press is no longer a reality, and even foreign NGOs and news agencies with a presence in Hong Kong will be regulated.
“The new law uses broad language that enables China’s central government to imprison anyone who it deems is critical of the government, regardless of whether they are residents or non-residents of Hong Kong.
“This is not just about people damaging public buildings or confronting police, it targets any behaviour deemed subversive by the central government.
“Many of the offences carry life sentences.
“The independence of the judiciary in Hong Kong is now totally undermined,” according to ACT’s Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Dr James McDowall.
“The central government is to establish its own security office and tribunal that supersedes the jurisdiction of Hong Kong and will not allow appeals. The security office will also have its own enforcement personnel, legally operating under secrecy. Trials can be held behind closed doors, and the central government has granted itself the ability to take over trials entirely, which would likely involve extradition.
“The most extraordinary aspect of the law is Article 38:
‘This Law shall be applicable to persons who do not have permanent resident status in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and commit crimes under this Law against the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region outside the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.’
“In other words, China’s central government is claiming extraterritorial jurisdiction over the entire world. That means that if you or I said something that offends the Chinese Communist Party, we could in theory be arrested upon entering Hong Kong. If serious enough, we could face life in prison.
“Hong Kong is now a political tool and a net to arrest foreign citizens at will, just like what we have seen in Mainland China.
“ACT joins the free world in condemning this law and its appalling breach of human rights.”