U.S. expresses “deep concern” over new Hong Kong immigration regulations

The U.S. government said Thursday (April 29) that it is “deeply concerned” about Hong Kong’s new immigration law. The Immigration (Amendment) Bill 2020, passed by the Hong Kong Legislative Council on Wednesday, gives the Director of Immigration the power to restrict anyone from entering or leaving Hong Kong, raising concerns that a mainland China-style exit ban could be implemented in Hong Kong.

The U.S. State Department has expressed concern over the passage of the controversial immigration ordinance by the Hong Kong Legislative Council.

A State Department spokesman said in a statement Thursday, “We are aware of the existence of this legislation, and we share the widespread concerns that its content, potential use, and lack of oversight or accountability have raised in Hong Kong.”

“We have long been concerned about China’s arbitrary use of exit bans, including against U.S. citizens, without due process of law. We are deeply concerned about the possibility of similar arbitrary measures by the Hong Kong authorities,” the spokesperson added.

A growing number of activists and politicians have had to leave Hong Kong and go into exile after the Chinese authorities implemented the National Security Law in Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong government says the law does not apply to people who leave Hong Kong.

The U.S. statement urged the Hong Kong government to honor this “public commitment” and not use the law “as an excuse to deny boarding to departing passengers.

The British Foreign Office also issued a brief statement.

A spokesman said, “The right to leave Hong Kong is guaranteed by the Hong Kong Basic Law and should be upheld.”