April 24, 2024

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Exclusively | Will Hong Kong politicians be targeted by foreign powers over their role in the Section 23 law? Some are avoiding trips to the United States in the near future

Exclusively |  Will Hong Kong politicians be targeted by foreign powers over their role in the Section 23 law?  Some are avoiding trips to the United States in the near future

The US State Department said Washington was “analyzing” the legislation and its “incredibly vague” provisions to gauge any potential risks to US citizens. She stopped short of saying whether she planned to take any retaliatory measures.

The US Congress has yet to finalize several bills targeting Hong Kong, including one that seeks to impose sanctions on nearly 50 local officials and judges. Another aims to close the city's three commercial representative offices in the country.

The new law, officially known as the National Security Protection Law, goes into effect on Saturday.

Some Hong Kong politicians, who spoke anonymously, told the newspaper on Wednesday that their peers were concerned about potential repercussions, although none of those who spoke were explicitly identified as targets of potential US sanctions.

One insider said that “at least a handful” of political and business delegates to the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference planned to avoid setting foot on US soil in the coming months after concluding that these periods would be “the most sensitive periods.”

“Their assessment is that it is prudent to refrain from traveling to the United States at least for the time being. “This is to avoid being interrogated for a long time or disturbed by the authorities,” the source said.


Hong Kong passes local national security law, fast-tracked legislation has been delayed for two decades

Hong Kong passes local national security law, fast-tracked legislation has been delayed for two decades

The group's concerns stemmed from the decision taken by the United States in August 2020 to impose sanctions on 11 officials accused of undermining Hong Kong's autonomy as a result of Beijing's imposition of sanctions. National Security Law A month ago.
Then a leader Carrie Lam Ching Yuet NgorFormer security chief John Lee Ka Chiu and then Police Commissioner Chris Tang Peng Keong were among those targeted by the measure.

Lam complained at the time about difficulties using credit cards after the sanctions were imposed on her. An insider who recently caught up with the former CEO said she still uses cash for her daily spending.

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Another politician said on Wednesday that concerns about potential repercussions had been “significantly amplified” by the rapid scrutiny of the Section 23 law by lawmakers, but he expected those concerns to gradually subside after the US presidential election in November.

The Post previously reported that the legislation was being fast-tracked in part as Calculated step By the Lee administration to catch foreign powers unprepared, as any retaliatory measures would take time to advance the busy legislative agendas of Western countries.
A fourth source said Parliment President Andrew Leong Kwan Yuen and the 15 lawmakers on the Bills Committee that examined the law were “well prepared” for any repercussions.

The source said the group had already “made arrangements” regarding its assets after seeking legal advice.

Asked how prepared he was for possible sanctions, Leung said: “Whatever comes, it will come. We don't mind. Other countries are taking measures to protect their national security, so why shouldn't we?”

Martin Liao Cheung Kung, who chairs the Bills Committee, said external factors would not influence the members' decision, adding: “We will go and do the right thing.”

Lawmaker and committee member Jeffrey Lam Kien Fung said he was not worried either.

“I only thought about one thing, which was that I had to finish this responsibility or task as quickly as possible,” he said.

Fellow committee member Chan Siu Hong dismissed concerns about possible retaliatory measures.

Beijing criticizes Britain and the European Union for “defamation and attack” on Hong Kong's Article 23 law

On Tuesday, British Foreign Secretary David Cameron criticized the National Security Protection Act, saying it failed to provide certainty to international organisations, such as diplomatic missions in the city, and enabled the “continuous erosion of freedoms of expression”.

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The EU Council issued a statement saying the legislation could exacerbate the erosion of fundamental freedoms in Hong Kong and potentially affect the work of its local office and consulates of its member states.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry expressed its strong rejection of the “slander and attacks” carried out by Western countries, expressing its firm opposition to any external interference in Hong Kong affairs.

Benjamin Barton, associate professor at the School of Politics, History and International Relations at the University of Nottingham's Malaysian Campus, said he doubted the EU would take further action beyond public criticism.

He added that the EU had “more pressing external issues at stake”, making the situation in Hong Kong less of a priority.

Hong Kong must resist backlash after Section 23 law is passed: analysts

Barton said that if Donald Trump returns to the White House, he can exploit the situation in Hong Kong to exert maximum public pressure on China, as he has done in the past.

But given that Trump “spent very little time and energy on this topic” during his last presidential term, any retaliatory measures would remain relatively unclear, the researcher said.

“With the current global context shifting toward events unfolding elsewhere, such as in Ukraine and Gaza, the heat and pressure have subsided somewhat in Hong Kong for China, making it less vulnerable to geopolitical headwinds,” Barton said.

Additional reporting by Harvey Kong and Emily Hong