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Joint Statement by 145 Organizations Worldwide to Oppose Article 23

Joint Statement to Oppose Article 23

We, the undersigned organizations, firmly oppose the passage of the Safeguarding National Security Bill, commonly referred to as “Article 23,” set to be enforced in Hong Kong this Saturday, March 23. We condemn the Hong Kong S.A.R. government’s plan to dismantle Hong Kong’s autonomy under the guise of “national security,” which further exacerbates the existing crackdown on human rights.

Article 23’s vague and broad definitions of crimes adversely impact not only individuals facing political arrests and prosecutions, but also everyone else in Hong Kong. The law opens the door to further arbitrary arrests and detentions while escalating censorship, creating a global chilling effect.

Article 23 is designed to impact an unprecedentedly wide range of people. The law, for example, defines the crime of “espionage” as applicable to those who, “with intent to endanger national security,” obtain, collect, or possess information that is “directly or indirectly useful to an external force” (clause 41). It also broadly criminalizes acts with “seditious intention,” which includes an intention to bring anyone in Hong Kong “into hatred, contempt or disaffection” against the Chinese and Hong Kong governments, institutions or constitutional order. With such low thresholds for prosecutions, Article 23 could provide a pretext for even more politically-motivated prosecutions and convictions.

Article 23 exacerbates the persecution of political prisoners and compounds the existing human-rights violations under the National Security Law (N.S.L.). The new legislation reinforces a separate judicial process for political cases, which involves appointed national security police officers in addition to handpicked prosecutors and judges, and deprives suspects of important procedural protections that were once available under Hong Kong’s legal system. Political prisoners charged under the N.S.L. have already been routinely denied bail, subjected to months of pre-trial detention, and deprived of the right to a jury trial. The new law further undermines these procedural rights by allowing the police to not only extend the period of detention without charge from the current 48 hours to a further 14 days, but also limit suspects’ access to counsel.

In addition to those facing political persecution, international businesses and Hong Kongers not directly involved in politics will also feel the impact of Article 23, as the law intensifies existing censorship. Following the N.S.L., the Hong Kong government forced major media outlets, such as Stand News and Apple Daily, to shut down. With the passage of Article 23, investigative journalism and reporting on “sensitive” political issues – given the broad definitions of “state secrets” and “sedition” – become even riskier. Article 23’s chilling effect on the freedom of expression extends to the Hong Kong diaspora globally, as the new law applies to Hong Kong residents anywhere in the world. The law’s extraterritorial implications will undoubtedly set the stage for heightened transnational repression.

The S.A.R. government expedited the passage of Article 23 despite mounting international pressure to uphold human rights. The U.N. Human Rights Committee issued a list of recommendations in 2022, urging the S.A.R. government to prioritize human rights. During the Universal Periodic Review on China in January this year, eight U.N. member states also called on the People’s Republic of China to repeal or review the N.S.L. Despite these clear and urgent appeals, the S.A.R. government opted to expedite the passage of Article 23 – clearing all legislative hurdles within 50 days of the initial public consultation.

We call on governments around the world and the international community to:

  1. Impose sanctions on Hong Kong and Chinese officials responsible for undermining the rule of law in Hong Kong, particularly those involved in the passage of the two pieces of “national security” legislation;

  2. Review the status of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Offices globally, with an eye towards shuttering their operations;

  3. Offer asylum and other humanitarian pathways and provide temporary travel documents to Hong Kong human-rights defenders, especially those who have been labeled by S.A.R. authorities as “absconders” and are likely to face passport cancellation in the near future.

Signatories (in alphabetical order):

  1. 29 Principles

  2. AfricaHongKongFrance (AHKF)

  3. Arizona for Hong Kong 

  4. ARTICLE 19 

  5. Asian Lawyers Network (ALN)

  6. Assembly of  Citizens’ Representatives, Hong Kong

  7. Association of Cosmopolitan Culture Action Taichung

  8. Association of Hong Kongers in Western Australia

  9. Athenai Institue

  10. Aus-Hong Kong Connex Inc

  11. Australia Capital Hong Kong Association

  12. Australia Hong Kong Link

  13. Australia Tibet Council 

  14. Australian and New Zealand Alliance for Victims of the Chinese Communist Regime

  15. Bay Area Friends of Tibet

  16. Befria Hongkong (Sweden)

  17. Birmingham HongKongers

  18. Blossom Community HK CIC

  19. Bonham Tree Aid CIC

  20. Bristol Hongkongers 

  21. Britons in Hong Kong

  22. Campaign For Uyghurs

  23. Canada-Hong Kong Link

  24. Center For Uyghur Studies

  25. Chicago Solidarity with Hong Kong (CSHK)

  26. Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD)

  27. Coalition of Students Resisting China

  28. Committee For Freedom in Hong Kong Foundation

  29. Committee to Protect Journalists

  30. Czechs Support Tibet

  31. Democracy for Hong Kong (D4HK) 

  32. Dialogue China

  33. European Belarus Foundation 

  34. European Values Center for Security Policy

  35. Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong.

  36. Finnish Hongkongers

  37. Flow HK 

  38. Formosan Association for Human Rights

  39. Frankfurt Stands With Hong Kong

  40. Free Tibet

  41. Free Uyghur Now

  42. Freedom House

  43. Freiheit für Hongkong e.V. (FfHK)

  44. Friends of Hong Kong (Calgary)

  45. Fundacíon Para la Libertad de Nicaragua 

  46. Germany Stands with Hong Kong

  47. Global Alliance for Tibet & Persecuted Minorities

  48. Grupo de Apoio ao Tibete - Portugal

  49. HKersUnited

  50. Hong Kong Aid 

  51. Hong Kong Affairs Association of Berkeley

  52. Hong Kong Committee in Norway

  53. Hong Kong Democracy Council

  54. Hongkonger Community Center (HKCC Brisbane)

  55. Hongkonger in Deutschland e.V.

  56. Hongkongers in Britain (HKB)

  57. HongKongers in Leeds 

  58. Hong Kongers in San Diego

  59. Hong Kongers in San Francisco Bay Area

  60. Hong Kong Forum, Los Angeles

  61. Hong Kong International Alliance Brisbane (HKIA Brisbane)

  62. Hong Kong Media Overseas (HKMO)

  63. Hong Kong Outlanders in Taiwan

  64. Hong Kong Scots

  65. Hong Kong Social Action Movements in Boston

  66. Hong Kong Student Advocacy Group - NYU 

  67. Hong Kong Watch

  68. Human Rights in China

  69. Human Rights Network for Tibet and Taiwan (HRNTT)

  70. Humanitarian China 

  71. Humanosh USA

  72. India Tibet Friendship Society NAGPUR

  73. Internationale Gesellschaft für Menschenrechte (IGFM)

  74. International Tibet Network

  75. Khmer Movement for Democracy 

  76. KONGcentric

  77. Lady Liberty Hong Kong (LLHK)

  78. Lamp of Liberty

  79. Le Comité pour la Liberté à Hong-Kong

  80. Liberté au Tibet (France)

  81. Lion Rock Café (New York)

  82. Manchester Stands With Hong Kong 

  83. McMaster Stands With Hong Kong 

  84. New School for Democracy (NSD Taiwan)

  85. New Yorkers Supporting Hong Kong (NY4 HK)

  86. North America Taiwanese Professors’ Association (NATPA)

  87. Northern California Hong Kong Club

  88. North East Hongkongers Club - U.K.

  89. Norwegian Tibet Committee

  90. Nottingham Stands With Hong Kong

  91. NYC852HKER

  92. Ontario Hong Kong Youth Action

  93. PMGI [Peace Media & Good Governance Institute] 

  94. Power to Hongkongers

  95. Reading UK Stands with HK

  96. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) 

  97. Santa Barbara Friends of Tibet 

  98. Scottish Hongkongers

  99. SEArious For HKG (Seattle)

  100. South Sudan Democratic Alliance (SSDA)

  101. Southampton Hongkongers

  102. Stand with HK@JPN

  103. Students for a Free Tibet International 

  104. Students for a Free Tibet - Boston

  105. Students for a Free Tibet- India

  106. Students for a Free Tibet - Japan

  107. Students for a Free Tibet - Middletown High School

  108. Students for a Free Tibet - Minnesota

  109. Students for a Free Tibet - New York/New Jersey

  110. Students for a Free Tibet -Toronto

  111. Students for Hong Kong

  112. Sutton Hong Kong Culture & Art Society

  113. Swedish Tibet Committee

  114. Swiss Tibetan Friendship Association

  115. Taiwan Association for Human Rights

  116. Taiwan East Turkestan Association (TETA)

  117. Taiwan Forever Association

  118. Taiwan Hong Kong Association 

  119. Taiwan Labour Front

  120. Taiwan Youth Association for Transitional Justice and Kiōng-Seng

  121. Taiwanese Association In Japan

  122. Texans Supporting Hong Kong (TX4HK)

  123. Tibet Initiative Deutschland e.V. 

  124. Tibet Justice Center

  125. Tibet Solidarity

  126. Tibet Support Group Ireland 

  127. Tibet Support Committee, Denmark

  128. Tibetan Youth Association in Europe (TYAE)

  129. Uniting HongKongers (Australia)

  130. Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation (UNPO)

  131. US Hongkongers Club

  132. Uyghur Academy International 

  133. Uyghur American Association

  134. Uyghur Center for Human Rights and Democracy

  135. Uyghur Human Rights Project

  136. Vancouver Activists of Hong Kong (VAHK)

  137. Vancouver Hong Kong Forum Society

  138. Vancouver Society in Support of Democratic Movement (VSSDM)

  139. Victoria Hongkongers Association (Australia)

  140. Washingtonians Supporting Hong Kong (DC4HK)

  141. We The Hongkongers

  142. Winnipeg Hong Kong Concern

  143. World Federation of Taiwanese Associations

  144. World Liberty Congress

  145. World Uyghur Congress


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