The Joint statement of Ukrainian NGOs and civil society activists regarding the “National Security Law” in Hong Kong

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Today Hong Kong faces the biggest threat to its democracy, freedom, and human rights. After the bravest fight of the people of Hong Kong against the Extradition Bill in 2019-2020, the communist regime of the People’s Republic of China decided again to attack the liberty of Hong Kong by imposing a new “National Security Law”, which is an unacceptable interference into the independent Hong Kong legal system. 

In 2003, a “national security law” proposed by the Hong Kong government under Article 23 of the Basic Law of Hong Kong was withdrawn after fierce opposition from the Hong Kong public, which saw a 500,000-strong protest on 1 July 2003. The Hong Kong public feared that this “national security law” would be used to suppress the democracy movement and restrict the human rights of Hong Kong people.

However, last week, the Communist Party of China announced that it would be imposing a new “National Security Law” on Hong Kong — which is even more draconian than the version which the Hong Kong government withdrew in 2003. Under this latest plan, a committee in Beijing would draft the law and then simply direct the Hong Kong government to put it into effect — thus completely bypassing the Legislative Council of Hong Kong and breaching both the Basic Law and the Sino-British Joint Declaration of 1984, which guaranteed a high degree of autonomy for Hong Kong. The new “National Security Law” being prepared in Beijing, without the involvement of Hong Kong-elected representatives, is the final step of Chinese interference into Hong Kong, aiming to repress the strongest democracy movement in Asia. If it is passed, it will be the most egregious breach of international law after the annexation of Ukrainian Crimea by the Russian Federation in 2014. The people of Hong Kong would be deprived of their basic human rights and civil liberties, as well as locked out of the core connections with the international community, which has been integral to Hong Kong political, social, and economic life for more than 160 years. 

Alarmingly, the “National Security Law” announced by Beijing would legalize the activity of Chinese armed security forces in the territory of Hong Kong (again, in breach of the Basic Law and the Sino-British Joint Declaration); criminalize the basic right of citizens to protest and to enjoy the freedom of expression; stifle the freedom of speech’ as well as allowing the CCP-controlled authorities to imprison pro-democracy activists and politicians according to the principles of Socialist Law. It would also suppress all forms of international cooperation between Hong Kong political activists and the international community. 

The government of Hong Kong gave up on the will to uphold the guaranteed principle of “One Country Two Systems”, under which Hong Kong is entitled to enjoy a “high degree of autonomy” until at least 2047. Furthermore, the regime of the Communist Party of China has breached its international agreements and the Basic Law by imposing the new National Security Law on Hong Kong. 

Taking into account all written above, we call for: 

  1. To the worldwide community — to support the fight for democracy, freedom, and human rights of the people of Hong Kong on all levels;
  2. To the government of People’s Republic of China – to withdraw the National Security Law and to stop interfering in the internal democratic  processes of Hong Kong, as guaranteed by international agreements and the Basic Law;
  3. To the government of Ukraine – to prevent the further abuse of international law from the side of the People’s Republic of China on the levels of bilateral official meetings and sessions, etc; 
  4. To the people of Ukraine – to support the Hong Kong freedom fighters, sharing the same ideas and values with us. 
  5. To the Council of Europe and the European Parliament — to develop and support the relevant resolution on the issue of democratic regression in Hong Kong to guarantee political asylum status for the people of Hong Kong, seeking international protection in Europe; to provide for comprehensive sanctions against the People’s Republic of China, and Chinese and Hong Kong officials who are responsible for passing and implementing the National Security Law in Hong Kong.

Free Hong Kong Center (Liberal Democratic League of Ukraine)

Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)

Human Rights Center ZMINA (Ukraine)

Open Dialogue Foundation (Belgium/Ukraine)

Eastern-Ukrainian Center for Civic Initiatives (Ukraine)