China targets ‘foreign forces’ in Hong Kong

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JUST THE BEGINNING:
Mainland Affairs Council report says Hong Kong’s ability to participate independently of Beijing in international organizations is weakening

  • By Chen Yu-fu and William Hetherington / Journalist, with editor

Beijing appears to be using Hong Kong’s national security law to target ‘foreign forces’ and continues to change the territory’s governance and institutions to mirror those of mainland China, according to the latest quarterly report from the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC). ).

China continues to undermine Hong Kong’s autonomy and is beginning to target foreign organizations operating in the territory, using the law that Beijing imposed on Hong Kong nearly two years ago, according to the report.

Citing one example, the report says British non-profit organization Hong Kong Watch was approached on March 4 by officials from Hong Kong’s national security department to remove content from its website which the department says , violated national security laws.

Photo: Bloomberg

It was the first report from a foreign organization targeted by the law, according to the report.

The suppression of individual rights and freedoms accelerated in January with the first convictions in Hong Kong for posts breaking the law, he added.

In March, former Hong Kong Bar Association president Paul Harris left the territory after security officials warned him he had broken the law, according to the report.

Although Hong Kong participates in international organizations separate from China, it supports the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) political goals, such as blocking Taiwan’s “meaningful participation in the WTO”, he said. .

By demonstrating its need to act on behalf of the CCP, Hong Kong shows that its ability to participate meaningfully and independently in international organizations is weakening, he added.

The report also cites Hong Kong government data showing that the number of mainland and foreign Chinese companies registered in the territory is increasing, despite the departure of foreign companies, indicating that Chinese investment in Hong Kong is increasing.

Last year, 9,049 foreign and Chinese companies were registered in Hong Kong, compared to 9,025 companies the previous year.

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