Months after China imposed the draconian national security law on Hong Kong, the administration of the semi autonomous region has quietly hardened the language of the terms of violations that were already vague.
Reports suggest that Hong Kong authorities, who were initially using the phrase “actions that “endanger national security”, have quietly started using the term “contrary to the interests of national security”.
The city’s administration is now even planning to introduce new laws under Hong Kong’s Basic Law that will pave way for easily cracking down on dissenting voices. The proposals include ‘Fake news’ legislation, anti doxxing law, and anti sanctions law among others.
The phrase “endanger national security” appears more than 30 times in the national security law, “contrary to” has not been mentioned in the original legislation.
The Asia Internet Coalition has even warned that tech giants may stop offering their services in the semi-autonomous region if anti-doxxing laws were used to target their employees.
The Hong Kong government has proposed ‘Fake news’ legislation months after officials and lawmakers started using the term ‘fake news’ in their press statements and in speeches. But they have not outlined any exact provisions for the law.
The newly proposed Article 23 can do away with this obligation. China is also planning to extend the anti-sanctions law to Hong Kong. The law allows Beijing to deny visas, deport, or seize assets of those involved in formulating or complying with sanctions against China.
The international community, the US, UK, Canada, and Australia, has often termed the legislation contrary to China’s international obligations under the principles of the legally binding, UN-registered Sino-British Joint Declaration.
These minor changes could provide greater ammunition to the government for harassing businesses and citizens as it increases compliance risk for companies operating from what is touted as global financial capital.