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US Expresses "Deep Concern" On Hong Kong New Security Law

07:58 AM Mar 23, 2024 IST | NEWS Desk
us expresses  deep concern  on hong kong new security law
US expresses "deep concern" on Hong Kong new security law

Washington DC [US]: The United States has expressed deep concerns over the new national security law in Hong Kong and said that it possesses "broad implications" for local people as well as US citizens and companies operating there.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement that the new legislation includes "vaguely defined provisions" regarding 'sedition', 'state secrets' and interactions with foreign entities that could be used to curb dissent.

"The United States expresses deep concern over Hong Kong authorities' enactment of national security legislation under Article 23 of the Basic Law," the statement read.

He said that the US shares concerns expressed by other nations that Hong Kong authorities could seek to apply the new legislation extraterritorially in their ongoing campaign of "transnational repression", and condemn efforts to "intimidate, harass, and limit the free speech" of US citizens and residents.

Implementing the new law and its opaque provisions could further violate the People's Republic of China's international commitment to maintain Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy, undermine the 'One Country, Two Systems' framework, and damage the city's reputation as an international business hub, the statement added.

"We stand firm in our commitment to defending human rights and democratic values worldwide and continue to stand with our international partners and people in Hong Kong," it added.

Article 23, which comes on the heels of a China-imposed national security law passed in 2020, punishes a range of offences, including treason, sabotage, sedition, the theft of state secrets, external interference and espionage, Al Jazeera reported.

It gives the government more power to quash dissent, widely seen as the latest step in a sweeping political crackdown triggered by pro-democracy protests in 2019. It comes on top of a similar law imposed by Beijing four years ago, which has already largely silenced opposition voices in the financial hub.

Critics say that the major piece of legislation, known as Article 23, further threatens the freedom of the special administrative region.

Notably, the legislation is drawing harsh condemnation globally for its potential impact on the city under Chinese authority.

However, Beijing has expressed "strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition" and called out calling out the European Union and the United Kingdom in particular for being "hypocritical."

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