Hong Kong’s new National Security Legislation will have an impact on human rights and the region’s vibrant civil society. In a briefing paper issued prior to its promulgation, The Rights Practice considers the adoption of the new law and what implementation may mean for the many civil society organisations in the city.   

The Rights Practice has first-hand experience of the impact of another law, the Overseas NGO Management Law, introduced in mainland China in 2017. This provides some insight into the potential impact of the National Security Law in Hong Kong. We have seen the departure of international organisations and we have observed the contraction of Chinese civil society along with the harassment and prosecution of leading activists. We should not fool ourselves that the impact of such laws will only be experienced by those intent on undermining China’s national security.

The biggest risk from the new law may lie not in its specific measures or how it is implemented, but in the chill, even fear, it could engender in Hong Kong. Can Hong Kong’s people and institutions withstand the new pressures? What is the role for international civil society?

Read in full - Hong Kong and National Security Legislation: Implications for human rights and civil society