Freiheit für Hongkong e.V (“FFHK”) strongly condemns the recent enactment of the Safeguarding National Security Bill (“The Bill“) under Article 23 of the Hong Kong Basic Law. The Bill will come into effect on March 23, 2024. 

Since the imposition of the National Security Law by China National People’s Congress in June 2020, the Hong Kong government has effectively wiped out the entire political opposition. However, the authorities in Hong Kong and Beijing are not yet content with the tools they have in hand for further tightening their control over the city. 

The recently enacted legislation criminalizes five primary offences: treason, insurrection, espionage, destructive activities endangering national security, and external interference. Many provisions within this bill are described in ambiguous terms, effectively criminalizing the peaceful and legitimate engagement in human rights activities under the threat of severe penalties. 

Moreover, additional provisions such as prolonged detention and limitations on access to legal representation further undermine the array of freedoms and rights that the people of Hong Kong have under the Basic Law. 

The implementation of Article 23 is poised to inflict even more severe impacts on human rights than those experienced following the imposition of the National Security Law by Beijing in 2020.

FFHK urges the Hong Kong government to immediately repeal the recently passed legislation and the National Security Law, and to cease the persecution of oppositional political figures, including Jimmy Lai and the 47 activists. 

Furthermore, we call on the German government to stand with the international community in condemning these actions by the Hong Kong authorities. In particular, Chancellor Scholz shall explicitly articulate Germany’s stance on the protection of freedoms and human rights in Hong Kong during his scheduled visit to China. 

Lastly, we appeal to the European Union to implement targeted sanctions against those Chinese and Hong Kong officials who have played a role in the enactment of the National Security Law and the Safeguarding National Security Bill, holding them accountable for their actions.

Ray Wong, Co-founder and Chairperson of FFHK: “The further tightening of the freedoms and rights of Hong Kong reflects Beijing’s continuous disrespect of universal values and international laws. The international community must hold China and Hong Kong officials accountable to show them that such violations would not go unpunished.“