United Nations (UN) human rights experts have written an open letter to China to warn the national security legislation imposed on Hong Kong at the end of June is a serious risk to the territory’s political and civic freedoms, urging Beijing to review and reconsider the law. It poses a serious risk to the city’s freedoms.
People criticised the legislation since Beijing imposed in June after months of huge pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong last year.
In the letter made public on Friday, experts said the law breached international legal obligations. They also voiced concerns about prosecute political activists.
The law, which criminalises secession, subversion, and collusion with foreign forces, has silenced many protesters since it came into effect.
Last month Hong Kong police arrested 10 people in their largest operation yet under the legislation.
The move shocked many in Hong Kong and triggered widespread global condemnation about eroding freedoms in the former British colony.
While there have been multiple arrests and ongoing probes. They are under the new security law, so far only one person has been in duty.
What did the letter say?
On Friday the 14-page letter was posted on the UN human rights office website, 48 hours after it was sent to the Chinese government. Fionnuala Ni Aolain and six other UN experts sent the letter.
They said the new law’s measures do not conform to China’s legal obligations under international law.
The experts also raised serious concerns about its impact when British gave the control back to China in 1997.
“We are particularly troubled that this legislation may impinge impermissibly on the rights to freedom of opinion, expression and of peaceful assembly,” they wrote.
They added that it ran the “grave risk” of targeting the legitimate activities of political opponents, critics, students, and lawyers among others.
Pro-democracy activists in the city have been raising similar concerns. On Tuesday prominent activist Agnes Chow detained under the law last month. He said dissent in the city is no need to talk.
“I hope the world, not only the whole of Hong Kong. The world could know that the national security law is actually not a legal thing. However, security law is political tool for the regime. And also for the government to suppress political dissidents,” AFP reported Ms Chow as saying.
Beijing has said that the function of legislation is to tackle unrest and instability . It rejects criticism as interference in its affairs.