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U.S. Senate reintroduces bill to protect internet freedom in Hong Kong

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Senator James Lankford (R-OK) and Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) reintroduced the Safeguarding Internet Freedom in Hong Kong Act to promote internet and press freedom in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee delivered his annual policy address in which he vowed to introduce Article 23 by the end of 2024. This bill would be Hong Kong’s own version of the Beijing-imposed National Security Law which has been used to destroy free speech, free press and free expression.

The Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong Foundation (CFHK Foundation) and 22 other Hong Kong organisations issued a statement to raise alarm towards the U.S. financial firms that are planning to attend a financial summit in Hong Kong from the 6th to 8th of November. Mark Sabah, UK and EU Director of the CFHK Foundation, said, “The Hong Kong government is trying to signal that business is as usual in Hong Kong, but that could not be further from the truth. Technology companies, investment firms, banks and other companies alike continue to flee the city. U.S. businesses should heed this red flag while the U.S. government should do more to safeguard the U.S. business environment as well as national security.”

The CFHK Foundation has spent the last two weeks in the U.S. Congress meeting with many Senators and Representatives from all parties to discuss the case of Jimmy Lai, the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office Certification Act and better humanitarian pathways for Hongkongers.

Hong Kong

The exodus of businesses from Hong Kong continues to expand as technology companies, investment firms and banks are quickly retreating from the city to avoid its tightening ties to mainland China.

Despite the Hong Kong government’s ‘Night Vibes Hong Kong’ campaign which aims to revive nightlife in Hong Kong, crowds in Kowloon and other once busy districts remain thin as Beijing continues to crack down on the city’s freedom.

The Hong Kong government announced they will give 2,556 U.S. dollars to every permanent Hong Kong resident who has a baby in an effort to increase the declining birthrate.

Nearly 12,000 Hong Kong teachers have quit their jobs since 2021. In 2021, forty percent of teachers in Hong Kong expressed that they wanted to leave their jobs, with the majority citing political pressure under the National Security Law.

The Financial Times reported that the CCP’s targeting of critical thinking and political research under the National Security Law in Hong Kong is increasingly prompting academics to flee the city.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) submitted a second draft of the Patriotic Education Law to increase patriotic education in schools, universities and religious institutions in China and Hong Kong. This would further reduce the freedoms of thought and speech on campuses.

Jimmy Lai

The Independent called out the British government’s refusal to publicly release the details of its efforts to support British citizen Jimmy Lai. The CFHK Foundation’s Mark Sabah said, “Why should it be a secret that the Foreign Secretary is fighting for the release of a British citizen? It is something he should be shouting from the rooftops and proud to be doing.”

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