onsdag 28. april 2021

New immigration bill sparks fears of Hong Kong ‘exit ban’

Hong Kong’s legislature is set to discuss a controversial immigration bill, which lawyers, diplomats and right groups fear will give authorities unlimited powers to prevent residents and others from entering or leaving the Chinese-ruled city.

The government has dismissed the concerns as “complete nonsense,” saying the bill which will be debated on Wednesday merely aims to screen undocumented migrants at source amid a backlog of asylum applications and does not affect constitutional rights of free movement. But distrust of the local administration has grown since enormous pro-democracy protests in 2019 and after Beijing imposed a sweeping national security law last year that appears to have set Hong Kong on a more authoritarian path.

The bill is due for a second reading in the Legislative Council, or LegCo, and may be passed later on Wednesday. The government faces no opposition in the legislature after pro-democracy legislators resigned en masse in protest at the expulsion of some of their democratic colleagues as alleged security risks.