Hong Kong uses new national security law against exiled activists - Hindustan Times
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Hong Kong uses new national security law against exiled activists

Reuters |
Jun 12, 2024 10:18 AM IST

HONGKONG-SECURITY:Hong Kong uses new national security law against exiled activists

By Farah Master and Jessie Pang

Hong Kong uses new national security law against exiled activists
Hong Kong uses new national security law against exiled activists

HONG KONG - Hong Kong's Security Bureau said on Wednesday it would use powers in a new national security law against six self-exiled activists residing in Britain, including cancelling their passports, after they fled the China-ruled city.

The six are Nathan Law, Christopher Mung Siu-tat, Finn Lau, Simon Cheng, Johnny Fok Ka-chi and Tony Choi Ming-da. City authorities put them on a wanted list last year.

"These lawless wanted criminals are hiding in the United Kingdom and continue to blatantly engage in activities that endanger national security," the bureau said in a statement.

"They continue to collude with external forces to protect their evil deeds. We therefore have taken such measures to give them a strong blow," it added, noting that these moves involved exercising powers in a new set of national security laws known as Article 23, which were enacted in March.

Hong Kong authorities have outlawed more than a dozen overseas activists based in the United States, Britain and other countries. A bounty of HK$1 million for information for these activists was also offered.

The new measures for the six in Britain prohibits providing them with funds and cancels their business dealings in Hong Kong. The new security bill includes punishments for offences including treason, sabotage and sedition.

Security chief Chris Tang called the measures against the activists "a necessary action" at a news conference on Wednesday.

Tang said all six have been harboured in Britain and continue to collude with external forces to engage in activities that endanger the national security of Hong Kong and China.

He also criticised British politicians, organisations and media outlets for "deliberately discrediting" the Hong Kong government.

When asked whether cancelling the activists' passports violated their rights of freedom of movement guaranteed in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Tang said "there are exceptions because of national security grounds, and this is not just applicable to Hong Kong but applied to all civilised society".

The Article 23 laws come on top of a sweeping China-imposed national security law in 2020 that has been used to jail pro-democracy activists, as well as shutter liberal media outlets and civil society groups.

Crimes such as subversion, collusion with external forces, sedition, theft of state secrets and espionage now carry jail terms of several years to life.

The United States, Britain and Australia, where some of these activists are now based, have criticised the national security laws as a tool to silence dissent.

Hong Kong and Chinese authorities, however, say the laws are necessary and have restored stability since mass pro-democracy protests in 2019.

Hong Kong returned from British to Chinese rule in 1997 with the promise that its freedoms, including freedom of speech, would be protected under a "one country, two systems" formula. Critics of the 2020 law say those freedoms have eroded swiftly.

Law said on his Facebook that he had given up his Hong Kong passport when applying for asylum to the United Kingdom in 2020 and that the latest measures were "redundant".

Lau said he has never applied for or owned a Hong Kong passport, while calling the moves "an explicit act of transnational repression."

This article was generated from an automated news agency feed without modifications to text.

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