Hong Kong people doubt their legal future: report
Hong Kong, July 10 (ANI): Most Hong Kong people doubt their future under China’s National Security Law which has left a “crippling effect” on the territory’s residents since its passage in June 2020, according to reports .
Quoting the Mainland Affairs Council, Taipei Times reported that more than 60% of people expressed doubts about their future under the draconian law that was imposed in June last year.
In a report marking the 24th anniversary of the handover of the territory to China, the council said the United States-based Freedom House in March awarded Hong Kong the worst mark in the history of its Freedom in report. the World at 52 points, ranking “in the free game, mainly due to safety legislation.”
The German Institute for World Public Policy and Reporters Without Borders have also downgraded the territory in their respective reports on academic and press freedom, he added.
Meanwhile, several people including activists, students, journalists have been arrested in recent months in Hong Kong under security legislation. The range of people prosecuted for speeches prior to the law’s passage – from politicians to academics and journalists – has produced a “chilling effect,” according to the council’s report.
The press in particular is facing “unprecedented political violence,” including with the redefinition of “media representative” to recognize only media workers registered with the government, he said.
Next Digital has become a victim of security legislation as police have used it to prosecute owner Jimmy Lai and executives at Apple Daily, he said.
The shutdown of the Apple Daily on June 25, shortly after the government froze its assets, “spelled the end of press freedom in Hong Kong,” the Taipei Times reported.
Many news organizations have chosen to remain silent, resulting in the closure or removal of content from online publications such as Stand News, Winandmac Media and Post 852, he added.
Meanwhile, a growing number of critical Beijing academics have been fired or forced to leave since last year. Some have even had their teaching qualifications revoked for broadcasting pro-independence content, he added.
Curriculum changes in February also banned political activity on campus and banned teachers from discussing their political views, while making it compulsory to teach security law to more than 8,000 students, did he declare.
Fear of excessive reporting by students is likely to deepen self-censorship on campuses, the council said, adding that some academics are also considering cutting back on international exchanges.
Censorship has even spread to the internet and the arts, drawing an ambiguous red line that would stifle creative freedom, he added.
The HKChronicles website, which publishes personal information about police officers and pro-Beijing figures, was reportedly shut down by Hong Kong security forces with the cooperation of internet service providers, the council said.
Pro-Chinese media also criticized the Hong Kong Arts Development Council for funding “reactionary” artwork and the M Museum for exhibiting Ai Weiwei’s work, he added.
Changes announced last month to the Cinema Censorship Ordinance would ban films that “endanger national security,” he said.
Public gatherings were also disrupted, including the annual candlelight vigil for the Tiananmen Square massacre which had been held annually for three decades, he said.
Even freedom of movement could be affected, as the adoption in April of changes to immigration regulations would grant authorities the power to prohibit individuals from entering or leaving the territory when they take effect on the 1st. August, the advice added.
The law criminalizes any act of secession (separating from China), subversion (attacking the power or authority of the central government), terrorism and collusion with foreign forces, with penalties of up to prison. for life. (ANI)