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  • Writer's pictureXiaodong Fang

Wrongdoing without limitation - China imposes a strict national security law applying to everyone

On July 1, 2020, China imposed a sweeping new National Security Law (NSL) on Hong Kong, aimed at stamping out opposition to the ruling Communist Party. The law allows mainland Chinese officials to operate in Hong Kong for the first time, gives Beijing the power to override local laws and impacts broad swathes of Hong Kong society -- as well as foreign nationals overseas.

Photo courtesy of Ryan McManimie | Unsplash

Based on China's ugly judicial track records, the NSL could be used to target pro-democracy campaigns and activisms, crush dissidents, and ultimately infringe on freedoms. The law criminalizes "acts of secession, subversion of state power, terrorist activities, and collusion with foreign or external forces to endanger national security," and the maximum sentence given for each of those four main crimes -- secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with foreign forces -- is life sentence.

In the past, similar laws have been widely (and "vaguely") applied to crush dissent and pro-democracy behavior in mainland China. According to Amnesty International, the NSL “will put everybody in Hong Kong at risk of arbitrary detention and unfair trial.” Now those unfair convictions will be extended from the mainland China to Hong Kong, signaling the end of "One Country, Two Systems," which China guaranteed in the Sino-British joint declaration.

Another notorious feature of the new NSL is that it is asserting extraterritorial jurisdiction over every person on the planet for an act committed anywhere on the planet. According to Article 38, “This Law shall apply to offenses under this Law committed against the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region from outside the Region by a person who is not a permanent resident of the Region.”

That is to say, if a person in a country with an extradition agreement with Hong Kong/China supported the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong, that person would probably be suspected of violating the NSL and thus extradited to either Hong Kong or mainland China. As there are twenty countries have extradition agreements with Hong Kong, including the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Australia, France, Germany, and New Zealand, people living in those free world are also threatened under China's new NSL.


Chinabashing condemns the Chinese government's legislation over the Hong Kong National Security Law. We urge free world leaders to denounce China’s assault on Hong Kong’s autonomy and to take effective actions to prevent China from suppressing democracy (and democratization) in mainland China, Hong Kong, and across the world.


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