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New National Security Law Targets UK-Based Activists in Hong Kong

The passports of six pro-democracy activists in exile were recently cancelled by the authorities, along with a ban on any financial support towards them.

Hong Kong authorities used the city’s new national security law to target pro-democracy activists in exile in the UK.

The individuals were already wanted by Hong Kong Police on charges including incitement to sedition and collusion with foreign entities to endanger national security, under the Beijing-imposed national security law.

New sanctions have been imposed on them, including passport cancellation, under the Safeguarding National Security Ordinance enacted in March.

Secretary for Security Chris Tang Ping-keung announced these measures against six “absconders,” including names like Nathan Law and Simon Cheng.

Actions have also been taken to prevent any financial support, property leasing, or joint ventures with these individuals, under penalty of up to seven years in prison.

Further actions were taken to suspend licenses and remove from office certain individuals involved with the activists.

A government spokesperson referred to the six as “lawless wanted criminals” who engage in activities endangering national security.

Despite this, support through platforms like Patreon and YouTube has been declared illegal.

The six activists in the UK are among 13 wanted by Hong Kong Police, which has issued bounties for their capture.

The British government has criticized these actions and urged Beijing to repeal the national security law.

Since the enforcement of the law in 2020, many activists have faced arrests, censorship, or have been driven into exile.

Over 144,400 Hong Kong residents have migrated to the UK under a special visa scheme introduced in response to the security law.

Additionally, Mr. Law and Mr. Cheng have been granted asylum by the British government.

Mr. Law, surrendering his passport while seeking asylum, called for Hong Kong citizens to prioritize safety and not lose their sense of right and wrong.

Mr. Mung, an activist, expressed his determination to maintain his identity as a Hongkonger despite the cancellations.

Mr. Cheng affirmed that the actions taken against them were politically driven and vowed to continue their advocacy in the UK.

Mr. Lau criticized the ordinance deployment as transnational repression and emphasized the erosion of the Sino-British Joint Declaration’s principles.

Concerns have been raised about the independence of Hong Kong’s judiciary and the impact on the rule of law following these actions.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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