top of page

Hong Kong: National Security Law (NSL) has created a human rights emergency

The NSL was unanimously passed by China’s National People’s Congress Standing Committee and enacted in Hong Kong on 30 June 2020 without any formal, meaningful public or other local consultation.


Hong Kong: National Security Law (NSL) has created a human rights emergency
Image: © Kon Karampelas; Moment from the Hong Kong protest in November 2019

The law targets alleged acts of “secession”, “subversion of state power”, “terrorist activities” and “collusion with foreign or external forces to endanger national security”.



This sweeping definition of “national security”, which follows that of the Chinese central authorities, lacks clarity and legal predictability and has been used arbitrarily as a pretext to restrict the human rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, association and liberty, as well as to repress dissent and political opposition.


The NSL’s arbitrary application and imprecise criminal definitions effectively make it impossible to know how and when it might be deemed as violated, resulting in an instant chilling effect across Hong Kong from day one.


Between 1 July 2020 and 29 June 2021, police arrested or ordered the arrest of at least 118 people in relation to the NSL. As of 29 June 2021, 64 people have been formally charged, of whom 47 are presently in pretrial detention.


Hong Kong’s National Security Law (NSL) has decimated the city’s freedoms and created a landscape increasingly devoid of human rights protections, Amnesty International said in a new research briefing released, exactly one year after the Beijing-imposed legislation took effect.


‘In the Name of National Security’ details how the law enacted on 30 June 2020 has given the authorities free rein to illegitimately criminalize dissent while stripping away the rights of those it targets.


In one year, the National Security Law has put Hong Kong on a rapid path to becoming a police state and created a human rights emergency for the people living there,” said Yamini Mishra, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Regional Director.


From politics to culture, education to media, the law has infected every part of Hong Kong society and fomented a climate of fear that forces residents to think twice about what they say, what they tweet and how they live their lives.


Ultimately, this sweeping and repressive legislation threatens to make the city a human rights wasteland increasingly resembling mainland China.



Based on analysis of court judgments, court hearing notes and interviews with activists targeted under the NSL, Amnesty’s briefing shows how the legislation has been used to carry out a wide range of human rights violations over the past 12 months.


In this time, the government has repeatedly used “national security” as a pretext to justify censorship, harassment, arrests and prosecutions. There is clear evidence indicating that the so-called human rights safeguards set out in the NSL are effectively useless, while the protections existing in regular Hong Kong law are also trumped by it.


Bail reversal violates the right to a fair trial


On 1 July 2020, the first full day of the law being in force, police arrested more than 300 protesters, including 10 on suspicion of violating the NSL. Since then, the government has continued to arrest and charge individuals under the NSL solely because they have exercised their rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association.


Worse still, people charged under the law are effectively presumed guilty rather than innocent, meaning they are denied bail unless they can prove they will not “continue to commit acts endangering national security”.


The briefing also outlines how authorities have used the NSL to:

  • Crackdown on international political advocacy, arresting or ordering the arrest of 12 individuals for “colluding” or “conspiracy to collude” with “foreign forces” because they were in contact with foreign diplomats, called for sanctions from other countries or called for other countries to provide asylum for those fleeing from persecution. Others were targeted for their social media posts or for giving interviews to foreign media.

  • Expand powers for law enforcement investigators – including giving the Hong Kong Police’s national security unit the ability to search properties, freeze or confiscate assets and seize journalistic materials, such as in the two raids on pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily during the year. Such unchecked powers leave little room to prevent potential human rights violations during the investigative process.


Yamini Mishra said-

The Hong Kong government must stop using its excessively broad definition of ‘endangering national security for the blanket restriction of freedoms. As a start, it must drop all criminal charges against those currently facing prosecution for exercising their human rights

The onus is also on the United Nations to start an urgent debate on the deteriorating human rights situation in China, including with regards to the implementation of the NSL in Hong Kong.


Read more from the below TAGS


People also reading-

Planner 5D- Interior design app

Planner 5D- Interior design app

Flipkart Online Shopping App

Flipkart Online Shopping App

World population to reach 8 billion this year, as the growth rate slows

July 12, 2022 at 6:57:56 AM

15 November 2022 is predicted to be the day that the global population reaches eight billion. The projection is revealed in the UN’s World Population Prospects 2022 report, which also shows that India is on course to surpass China as the world’s most populous country in 2023.

World population to reach 8 billion this year, as the growth rate slows

WHO: Nearly one billion people have a mental disorder

June 22, 2022 at 7:20:50 AM

Nearly one billion people worldwide suffer from some form of mental disorder, according to the latest UN data – a staggering figure that is even more worrying if you consider that it includes around one in seven teenagers.

WHO: Nearly one billion people have a mental disorder

What can the UN do? Check the top 5 questions answered

April 6, 2022 at 10:51:48 AM

The current war in Ukraine, following the Russian invasion, has sparked all sorts of questions about the United Nations, particularly the role of the Security Council, the General Assembly and the Secretary-General.

What can the UN do? Check the top 5 questions answered

Ukraine: UN’s Guterres joins call for Bucha war crimes probe

April 6, 2022 at 8:22:29 AM

UN chief António Guterres on Tuesday added his voice to the growing international calls for a war crimes investigation into the killing of civilians in the Ukrainian town of Bucha.

Ukraine: UN’s Guterres joins call for Bucha war crimes probe

Recent terrorist attacks in Israel undermine ‘prospects for peace’: Guterres

March 31, 2022 at 8:29:57 AM

Secretary-General António Guterres on Tuesday night condemned recent terrorist attacks in Israel that have claimed the lives of at least 11 Israeli citizens.

Recent terrorist attacks in Israel undermine ‘prospects for peace’: Guterres

China's BYD ceases to produce gasoline-powered vehicles

4/4/22, 7:00 AM

Chinese auto manufacturer BYD announced Sunday that it has already ceased the production of traditional gasoline-powered vehicles starting from March.

China's BYD ceases to produce gasoline-powered vehicles

Performance-oriented all-new ŠKODA SLAVIA 1.5 TSI Launched creates a segment of its own

3/27/22, 10:42 AM

All new ŠKODA SLAVIA 1.5 TSI starts at ₹ 16.19 lacs

Performance-oriented all-new ŠKODA SLAVIA 1.5 TSI Launched creates a segment of its own

CARS24 Raises $450 Million, Nearly Doubles Its Valuation To $1.84 Billion

9/25/21, 6:16 AM

CARS24, India’s leading e-commerce platform for pre-owned vehicles, announced today the closing of a $450M round of funding including a $340M Series F equity round alongside $110M debt from diversified financial institutions.

CARS24 Raises $450 Million, Nearly Doubles Its Valuation To $1.84 Billion

Tata Motors launches the ‘XPRES’ brand for fleet customers

7/18/21, 6:13 PM

Tata Motors, one of India’s leading automobile manufacturers, today announced the launch of a new brand ‘XPRES,’ exclusively for fleet customers.

Tata Motors launches the ‘XPRES’ brand for fleet customers

Audi India announces curated ownership plans for Audi e-tron and Audi e-tron Sportback customers

7/18/21, 5:56 PM

Special Service Plans, Extended Warranty and Buyback for a hassle-free ownership experience

Audi India announces curated ownership plans for Audi e-tron and Audi e-tron Sportback customers

TikTok hits 1 billion global active users

9/28/21, 8:56 AM

TikTok mission is to inspire creativity and bring joy.

TikTok hits 1 billion global active users

FACT CHECK: Crypto is increasingly being used for criminal activity and is a haven for illicit finance

6/23/21, 6:11 AM

Because cryptocurrency is still new, we are often asked about the biggest myths surrounding it. It’s common for a new market or product to confuse people until they get familiar with it. Think about Airbnb: the idea of staying in a stranger’s home seemed crazy until it didn’t.

FACT CHECK: Crypto is increasingly being used for criminal activity and is a haven for illicit finance

PUBG: NEW STATE surpasses 17 Million Google play store PRE-REGISTRATIONS following its recent ALPHA TEST

6/19/21, 4:40 AM

KRAFTON, Inc. to open pre-registration for the game on Apple’s App Store in Q3 2021

PUBG: NEW STATE surpasses 17 Million Google play store PRE-REGISTRATIONS following its recent ALPHA TEST
bottom of page