On 1 July, 1997, Hong Kong was handed over to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) from the United Kingdom under the conditions set out in the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration. The Joint Declaration provides for fundamental rights, a high degree of autonomy and the “one country, two systems” in Hong Kong.
25 years later, Hong Kong is no longer the city we once recognised. The draconian National Security Law, implemented on the 30th June 2020, has been used to punish dissent, curtails protest and freedom of speech and reduce the city’s autonomy. Since the law’s adoption, there have been at least 183 arrests made and 113 individuals charged, with more than 50 civil society organisations forced to disband and multiple media outlets ceasing to operate.
Today we will also see John Lee, the city’s new Chief Executive, take office. His selection by Beijing through its “patriots-only” sham election shows how far Hong Kong’s democracy has deteriorated since the advent of the National Security Law. Lee has promised to introduce new legislation to further tighten the PRC government’s grip over Hong Kong.
On these anniversaries we remember the sacrifices that millions of ordinary Hongkongers have made to defend freedom and democracy in their city. IPAC calls for our governments to work to hold the PRC accountable under existing legal mechanisms. We call upon our governments to impose sanctions on Chief Executive John Lee, and other Chinese and Hong Kong government officials responsible for the erosion of freedom in the city. Our governments should also further scrutinise the export of dual-use goods and technologies that can be used for surveillance in Hong Kong and China, and ensure that products made by entities complicit in human rights abuses in Hong Kong and China do not enter our supply chains.