|A Hong Kong supporter
holds a banner portraying a woman
shot in the eye, which became an
emblem of the Hong Kong
protests after a woman lost her
eye to a police weapon.
(Hong Kong—May 26, 2020) A plan to implement a new national security law in Hong Kong is sparking fears of human rights abuses.
Since 1997, Hong Kong has been governed by China under a “one country, two systems” format, which has allowed Hong Kong partial self-governance. As a result, the region has remained partially immune to human rights and religious freedom violations taking place in China.
The new law threatens seeks to more fully bring Hong Kong under Beijing’s control. It is expected to outlaw subversion of the central government, secession from China, and sedition. China’s National People’s Congress will move to pass it soon.
A similar national security law also exists in mainland China. It is often used to accuse religious people and activists of defying the state and place them behind bars. Because of this, the Hong Kong law is receiving massive international backlash. Supporters of Hong Kong’s freedom fear the rights of local residents might be stripped away.
The law comes at a restless period in Hong Kong history. Last year, tensions between Hong Kong residents and the government climaxed after Chief Executive Carrie Lam proposed an extradition law. If the legislation had passed, it would have allowed China to bring Hong Kong residents to the mainland for prosecution. Many residents feared China would use the law to target dissidents and religious devotees, and millions took to the streets in protest. In response, the Hong Kong government dispatched riot police, and violence often erupted.