IPAC Denounces HK's Article 23 Law

March 19, 2024

Under the full glare of the international media, and in a matter of days, the Hong Kong authorities have rushed through the most repressive national security legislation in the city’s history.

The substance of the law is eye watering in the repression it allows and the chilling effect it will create. Among other things, it allows sentences of up to 14 years imprisonment if an individual fails to disclose that another person indicates an ‘intention to commit treason’, which could include participating in peaceful protest or voicing discontent. If a journalist or a due diligence report discloses information that is deemed to be a ‘national secret’, that person can be jailed for 10 years.

We did not get here overnight. Since the passage of the National Security Law in 2020, the people of Hong Kong have endured ever deepening oppression, while Beijing has unrepentantly and unilaterally violated binding international law. Yet the international community has done little or nothing to hold those responsible to account.

Now, four years later, legislation has been enacted which effectively harmonises Hong Kong and China’s national security systems, making Hong Kong one of the most dangerous places in the world to disagree with the government.

We call on governments publicly to acknowledge the significance of this law for engagement with Hong Kong. Its repressive nature calls for a complete structural reevaluation of how the city is seen outside of China. Aside from representing a disastrous deterioration in Hong Kong’s already diminished freedoms, it fundamentally changes the business environment. The international community, which has watched impotently as the City’s way of life has endured assault, must finally act.

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