søndag 24. mai 2020

A national security law is coming to Hong Kong. Here's how it has been used to crush dissent in China

Beijing's plan to introduce a hugely controversial national security law in Hong Kong has sparked widespread fears over its potential impact on the city's much cherished freedoms. Residents of the semi-autonomous city only need to look across the border at mainland China to get a glimpse of how "national security" -- broadly and vaguely defined -- can be used as a convenient pretext for the political prosecution of dissidents, activists, human rights lawyers and journalists.

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, for example, was sentenced to 11 years in prison for "inciting subversion of state power." Prior to his arrest, Liu helped draft a manifesto calling for democracy and political reform in China. Liu died of multiple organ failure in 2017 after being diagnosed with liver cancer, making him the first Nobel Peace Prize winner to die in state custody since Carl von Ossietzky, who was imprisoned by Nazi Germany.

China enacted its first National Security Law in 1993, which focused on issues relating to espionage activities. That law was replaced by the Counterespionage Law in 2014 with updated rules that more closely targeted foreign spies -- as well as Chinese individuals and organizations who collaborate with them.