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Repression and Censorship within and beyond borders / Amnesty International UK

No matter where we are, human rights should be universal. 

People in Hong Kong are facing an increased crackdown on their rights to freedom of expression. The UK government must act now to protect Hong Kongers in the UK.

What is happening in Hong Kong?

Since the 2019 citywide protests erupted, the suppression of human rights in Hong Kong has been taken to another level. Countless repressive laws, including “Article 23”, the latest home-grown National Security Law, are designed to stifle criticisms of the Hong Kong and Chinese authorities within the city and globally. Both of these laws are extraterritorial laws.

What are "extraterritorial" laws?

Extraterritorial laws are laws which are meant to apply outside of the country they are made in. These laws because whether people are inside China, Hong Kong it leaves no one safe from being labelled a threat to Hong Kong’s national security. This means someone in the UK could be targeted by these laws, which makes everyone and every organisation advocating for human rights in Hong Kong susceptible to its chilling effect.

These laws are a devastating blow to the entire civil society. In 2023, there were reports of a Chinese “police station” in Belfast, showing that then crackdown on Hong Kongers inside the UK is very real and puts their human rights at risk.

Why are repressive laws being passed in Hong Kong?

The lack of accountability and abuse of public powers, including the Security Bureau and law enforcers, have led to a total crackdown on protests and freedom of expression inside Hong Kong. Dissenting protestors and lawmakers were arrested en masse.

Significant cases include: 

  • Chow Hang Tung
    • Chow is a human rights lawyer and the organiser of June Fourth Commemoration Vigil
  • Jimmy Lai
    • He is the founder of pro-democracy media Apple Daily
  • “Longhair” Leung Kwok-hung
    • A veteran activist and legislator
  • 47 political advocates charged with conspiracy to commit subversion.

What is the role of the UK and the UK government?

The UK is host to the largest diaspora Hong Kong community and an important base of their activism.

When dissent and protests are effectively silenced in Hong Kong, it is crucial for every activist in the UK to raise our voice in solidarity against the crackdown and censorship in Hong Kong through our advocacy and campaigning, while supporting the robust growth of Hong Kong human rights activism locally.

Amnesty UK also calls for the immediate release of Hong Kong human rights defenders and the repeal of national security laws in Hong Kong.