Both Hong Kong citizens and foreign nationals risk to be extradited to mainland China for “harming China’s national security” if an extradition law between Hong Kong and the mainland is adopted.

Hong Kong-based newspaper Apple Daily reports that according to an anonymous source , who is described as “authoritative” (權威人士), recently the Vice Premier of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) Han Zheng (韩正) told government officials that Hong Kong’s new extradition law targets two groups of people: Hong Kong residents that commit crimes that endanger national security, and foreign nationals in Hong Kong who committed crimes against China or Chinese citizens.

Hong Kong, Bauhinia Square

Hong Kong’s status as a global financial centre rests on the rule of law and the freedoms inherited from the British colonial era. Hong Kong was handed over to the PRC in 1997 under the “one country, two systems” formula which Beijing granted the territory for the purpose of preserving its freedoms and way of life. However, Hong Kong’s civil liberties have been under attack in recent years.

After Chinese leader Xi Jinping took office in 2012, the Chinese Communist government has tightened its grip on civil society and attempted to restrict Hong Kong’s autonomy.

Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, who is chosen by a 1,200-member committee and appointed by Beijing, is widely seen as representing the interests of the Chinese Communist government.

In September 2018, the Hong Kong government banned the pro-independence Hong Kong National Party (HKNP), the first ever ban on a political party since the handover. In April 2019, nine democracy activists were found guilty of causing public nuisance for their role in the 2014 Occupy Central civil disobedience movement.

In May, Hong Kong bookseller Lam Wing-kei, who had been abducted by Chinese Communist officials for selling books critical of the CCP leadership, moved to Taiwan to escape political persecution.

The Hong Kong legislature, dominated by pro-Beijing lawmakers, is set to pass an extradition law that would allow individuals to be handed over to mainland Chinese authorities at Beijing’s request for the vaguely worded crime of “harming national security.”

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