Hong Kong passed the Immigration Amendment Bill, the freedom of entry and exit will be reduced to nothing?

Hong Kong’s Legislative Council passed the Immigration (Amendment) Bill 2020 on Wednesday (April 28), amid concerns among activists that the bill would give authorities the power to prevent Hong Kong residents and others from entering and leaving the territory freely.

Hong Kong’s Immigration (Amendment) Bill 2020 resumed its second reading at Wednesday’s Legislative Council meeting and was then passed on the third reading the same day. The bill will take effect on Aug. 1.

Some of the provisions in the bill have caused controversy, including the requirement of airline crew “advance passenger information system”, and the Secretary for Security may make regulations to empower the Director (Immigration Department) to give directions on whether a means of transport may or may not carry a passenger or crew.

Reuters reported that the Hong Kong Bar Association (HKBA) said in February that the bill gives the Director of Immigration “an apparently unfettered power to prevent Hong Kong residents and others from leaving Hong Kong.

The HKBA also said the bill did not explain why such a power was needed, did not explain how it would be used, did not set any limits on the duration of the travel ban, and did not provide any safeguards against abuse.

Lawyer Michael Vidler told Reuters:Â “It is worrying that in its haste to push this bill through, the government has chosen to ignore civil society groups that have raised legitimate concerns.”

According to RTHK, “hot-blooded citizen MP” Cheng Chung-tai, who voted against the passage of the Immigration (Amendment) Bill 2020, believes that if the government wants to ban people from leaving the country, it can use different methods, such as seizing people’s assets or charging them with defaulting on fines, instead of amending the law, and hopes the government will clarify.

Hong Kong has seen a massive outbreak of pro-democracy protests in 2019, with protesters putting forward “five demands” to the authorities, including the withdrawal of amendments to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance and the immediate implementation of dual universal suffrage for the Legislative Council and the Chief Executive. The protests were suppressed by the Hong Kong authorities.

Since then, Beijing enacted the Hong Kong version of the National Security Law in June last year, which prohibits any act of subversion or secession. Since the implementation of the Hong Kong version of the National Security Law, China has continued to tighten its grip on Hong Kong, and more and more activists and politicians have had to leave the city and go into exile overseas.

The Hong Kong Security Bureau said in a statement recently that “some groups have recently misinterpreted the provision under the Bill empowering the Secretary for Security to make regulations on the provision of passenger information by means of transport as a deliberate attempt to restrict the freedom of Hong Kong residents to enter and leave the territory,” a move that is an attempt to spread rumors, confuse people and create social conflicts through emotional and hostile rhetoric This is an attempt to spread rumors, confuse people and create social conflicts through emotional and hostile words.

The Secretary for Security, Mr. Lee Ka-chiu, said that the new amendment is only for flights departing for Hong Kong and is intended to stop “fake refugees” at the source.

According to Radio Free Asia (RFA), the United Front of Trade Unions, the Civil Human Rights Front and the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China met with the media after the passage of the bill. Hong Kong Alliance Vice President Zou Xingtong said the authorities have the right to enact more subsidiary legislation and need continued monitoring by the public, and that even if the bill only restricts entry, it will not solve the concerns of Hong Kong people.

Zou Xingtong said: “Even if we just say that only restrict the entry, Hong Kong people go out to study, study, work, can not come back to do what? Only restrictions on entry will not solve this concern.”