Rights group condemns China's national security law for suppressing freedom of expression in Hong Kong

Ronit Kawale
Ronit Kawale - Senior Editor
4 Min Read
Rights group condemns China's national security law for suppressing freedom of expression in Hong Kong

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 major role in suppressing freedom of expression in the city.

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On the fourth anniversary of the NSL, ISHR expressed support for the views of UN experts and described it as one of the “draconian” laws ever adopted to suppress freedom of expression in Hong Kong.

The NSL has faced continued criticism for its harsh crackdown on Hong Kong residents.

The report titled 'National Security Law in Hong Kong: Adverse Impacts and Growing Risk of Reprisals' said that several activists have been jailed under the national security law and many NGOs are facing difficulties in operating.

“What was once a vibrant environment for civil society in Hong Kong has changed dramatically since the imposition of the NSL. Many activists have been prosecuted and jailed for their activities. Many local and international NGOs have decided to cease operations or make dramatic changes to their work, while other activists and NGO workers have decided to abandon their rights work or leave the city and continue their work in exile – or have been forced to do so,” the report said.

It further states, “As explained by the Chair of the Board of Amnesty International, whose regional office was based in Hong Kong until December 2021, the NSL has made it impossible for human rights organisations in Hong Kong to operate freely and without fear.”

New tensions are emerging in relations between the government and civil society, which are directly linked to the national security law and are affecting the political climate of the city.

The Hong Kong Legislative Council (LegCo) provides a platform for NGOs and civil society to express their views on human rights issues.

However, since adopting the NSL and holding elections for 'patriots only', the Legislative Council no longer lives up to its commitment to allowing alternative views or the voice of civil society to be heard.

Since the year 2021, there has been no public official agenda inviting Hong Kong civil society groups to present their views.

The ISHR report further states, “Individuals or organisations based in Hong Kong – or even those with ties to Hong Kong – cannot assume the ability to engage safely with the UN on human rights issues. The NSL directly places them at new and increased risk of retaliation and intimidation.”

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