Foreign policymakers and foreign politicians from 23 countries, among them former Hong Kong governor Chris Patten, warned that a new Chinese security law for the city would be a ” comprehensive attack “on its rights and freedoms and” cannot be tolerated “.
In a strong statement, the 186 signators said they had “serious concerns” about the law and feared it would jeopardize the city̵7;s future.
“The statement reflects the growing and widespread international outrage over the Chinese government’s decision to unilaterally impose national security law in Hong Kong,” Patten said.
Critics say the new security law is effectively enacted by the end of Hong Kong’s current way of life. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, described it as a “death knell” for the city’s autonomy.
Beijing’s decision to outline the territory effectively abolished the promises made when the city was granted to China from the British colonial rule in 1997. At the time, Hong Kong guaranteed 50 years of autonomy, including all of civil rights and freedoms retained for the time being.
It has its own police force, an independent judiciary and freedom of speech, which has been critical in developing its stand as an international hub and trade. All of that is likely to be threatened by the new law.
“This is the most serious threat to Hong Kong people who have come from the Chinese government since 1997,” said Malcolm Rifkind, the former foreign secretary in the UK and one of the signatories of the statement. “The people of Hong Kong need, and deserve, our support.”
Offenses cover, including “treason, caution, caution [and] subversion ”, is used to maintain and silence government critics on the mainland. The draft version of the law also allows Chinese security forces to set up outposts in the city.
And Hong Kong authorities have made it clear that they will use their new powers to overthrow the pro-democracy protests that surrounded the city for almost a year.
A heavy blow would not deal with the grievances that led to the protest movement, which last year only increased as the city’s police force became increasingly aggressive, the international group said.
“These are the real grievances of ordinary Hong Kongers who are driving the protests. Draconian laws will further complicate the situation, jeopardizing Hong Kong’s future as an open Chinese international,” the statement said.
Policy makers and politicians from all over the political spectrum, and around the world, put their names in the press. In the UK, they include the chairman of the foreign affairs committee, Tom Tugendhat, two former Conservative party leaders, and the well-known human rights minister, Baroness Helena Kennedy.