By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, July 4: A coalition of activist groups on Saturday condemned the new security law in Hong Kong and expressed solidarity with the people of Hong Kong. Students for a Free Tibet (SFT), International Tibet Network (ITN), World Uyghur Congress and International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) expressed concerns over the rapid erosion of the city’s political freedoms and called on the Chinese government and Hong Kong authorities to respect UN standards and international human rights laws.
The group said that the legislation has been used as a pretext to clamp down on pro-democracy activists ahead of Hong Kong elections due in September this year. SFT remarked that the legislation marks the end to the current ‘One Country, Two Systems’ and puts mechanisms in place to stifle voices of any future opposition.
ITN called on the UK government and UN Member states to take concrete steps to ensure the effective implementation of the international treaty. “These blatant actions by Beijing have far-reaching consequences and pose an extreme risk which requires more than mere lip-service; world leaders and Asian nations must come together and enforce punitive measures to protect the people of Hong Kong,” said Tenzin Jigdal, International Coordinator for ITN.
The first arrest under the new law was made during protests on Friday; Tong Ying-kit, 23, carried a “Liberate Hong Kong” sign and drove a motorcycle into police, now charged with inciting separatism and terrorism. “Just one day after the law was passed and came into force on July 1, 2020, Hong Kong police already started detaining citizens who were exercising their freedom of expression and assembly, as guaranteed under the Basic Law,” read the ICT statement.
The UK PM Boris Johnson said that the passing of a new security law by the Hong Kong authorities was a “clear and serious breach” of the 1985 Sino-British joint declaration – a legally binding agreement which determined certain freedoms that would be protected for 50 years after China assumed sovereignty in 1997. The controversial legislation could convict Hongkongers of “national security crimes” with punishment up to life imprisonment.