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NEWSLETTER: Hong Kong Activists Warn of Article 23 Threat to What’s Left of Freedom in the City

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The Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong (CFHK) Foundation is among many Hong Kong groups and individuals that have posted submissions to the Hong Kong government’s public consultation on its planned Article 23 legislation.




The planned law claims it will address what officials refer to as deficiencies or loopholes not covered by the Beijing-imposed National Security Law (NSL). The CFHK Foundation’s submission warns that the law will further infringe on Hong Kong's autonomy and its vague definitions of security and sedition pose grave risks to freedom of thought and expression.


Although the law is expected to pass amid limited opposition in the “patriots-only” legislature, the CFHK Foundation has made its submissions public so that the world can consider our concerns and recommendations. 


In an op-ed for the New York Post,  CFHK Foundation President Mark Clifford drew parallels between the brutal tactics of the Russian and Chinese governments, noting the bravery of both the murdered Alexei Navalny and the imprisoned Jimmy Lai. 


The CFHK Foundation is pleased to announce the expansion of its U.S. team with the hiring of Jonathan Stivers as its new U.S. Director


Jonathan served over 25 years in high-level positions in the U.S. Congress and Administration focusing on U.S.-China relations and human rights. He played a leading role in the passage of legislation relating to Hong Kong and human rights, including the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act.


Jimmy Lai's Trial Update


The trial of Jimmy Lai resumed on 26 February, with former Apple Daily associate publisher Chan Pui-man testifying as an “accomplice” witness. 


Prosecutors highlighted former U.S. President Donald Trump's praise of Lai as a “brave man” in 2020, remarks which were reported in the now-defunct Apple Daily newspaper. The court also heard evidence about the paper’s publication of articles which criticised government policies, although Chan told the trial that Lai had limited involvement in the paper’s day-to-day editorial affairs.


Chan is among six senior Apple Daily employees who pleaded guilty to conspiring to collude with foreign forces in November 2022. She remains in prison awaiting sentencing.


Hong Kong


The Hong Kong Journalists Association has expressed concerns about how planned Article 23 legislation could impact press freedom. They fear vague definitions of offences such as "state secrets" and "external interference" could lead to journalists facing legal issues for routine reporting. 


The Hong Kong government announced a larger-than-expected deficit of HK$101.6 billion for the current fiscal year, nearly double the forecast. This deficit was attributed to lower-than-expected revenue from land sales and stamp duty, exacerbated by slow post-pandemic economic recovery. Finance Secretary Paul Chan also projected a further deficit of HK$48.1 billion for the next fiscal year.


UK-China Relations


The British Foreign Secretary, David Cameron, “strongly urged” Hong Kong's government to reconsider its proposed Article 23 national security legislation, citing potential infringements on rights and freedoms guaranteed under the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the city’s Basic Law. 


THE 'FLAME OF FREEDOM' BLOG🔥


Article 23 Will Silence More Hong Kongers for Backing Democracy


This blog is authored by Michael Mo, a Former Hong Kong District Councillor and a Sanctuary Scholar at the University of Leeds' School of Politics and International Studies. He is also the Co-founder and Director of the Hong Kong Scots. 


Hong Kongers fear even more for their safety as Article 23 looms. The proposed new security law may make it even easier for Hong Kong authorities to arrest and prosecute Hong Kongers who express their dissent, and courts could soon be instructed to hand down even harsher sentences than those under the current provision. 


Read More Here




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