China has created a “human rights emergency” in Hong Kong since imposing a national security law a year ago, human rights group Amnesty International says.
The human rights watchdog group released a lengthy report on Wednesday (June 30, 2021) on the impact of the draconian law. A year ago on this date, Beijing introduced a national security law specifically applicable to Hong Kong in response to the massive and sometimes violent anti-government protests that took place there in 2019, to deal with anyone suspected by authorities of having engaged in terrorist and separatist activities, as well as subverting state power or colluding with forces outside the country.
Under the law, Hong Kong authorities have arrested and jailed hundreds of people, many of them pro-democracy politicians and activists, including media mogul Lai Chi-ying. He founded Next Media, which was forced to shut down its pro-democracy newspaper, Apple Daily, last week. Earlier, as many as 500 police officers raided the newspaper’s headquarters building, arrested several top executives and froze the organization’s assets.
Based on court rulings, trial transcripts and interviews with activists, Amnesty International prepared this lengthy report on the impact of the state security law on Hong Kong’s judicial system, which confirms that the law has been used by the authorities to commit a wide range of human rights abuses.
Yamini Mishra, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific director, said that in just one year, the National Security Law has rapidly developed Hong Kong into a police society, creating a human rights emergency for those who live there.
She added that the law has “infected every part of Hong Kong society, fostering a climate of fear and forcing people to reconsider their words, their online comments and how they live their lives.”
Mishra said that “this sweeping and repressive legislation will ultimately turn Hong Kong into an increasingly human rights wasteland like mainland China.”