Hong Kong Canadian organizations across Canada condemn the Chinese Communist Party’s unilateral imposition of a repressive national security law on Hong Kong. It would criminalize any act considered by the Chinese Communist Party to be secession, subversion, terrorism, or foreign interference. It will permit Beijing to establish its own security forces in Hong Kong to enforce its crackdown on any expression of dissent. This would particularly endanger opposition parties, human rights groups, student unions, media organizations, and faith groups under the guise of protecting national security. It sets the stage for a massive assault on the civil rights of the people of Hong Kong as has happened with the student protestors in Tiananmen Square, defenders’ lawyers, millions of interned Uyghurs, Tibetans, and faith groups whose rights of free expression and worship are denied.

Police May 10
Photo: inmediahk.net via CC.2.0.

Hong Kong’s civil liberties and rule of law are guaranteed by an international treaty, the Sino-British Joint Declaration. These guarantees are the reason that it is a safe harbour for international commerce, with hundreds of Canadian firms operating there. Furthermore, over 300,000 Canadians live in Hong Kong, along with many others from around the world. Under this new security law, any one of them could be arbitrarily detained in a Chinese prison at the whim of the Chinese Communist Party. They would suffer the same fate as Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who have been imprisoned for over 500 days under conditions amounting to torture, without being formally charged with any crime. Their ordeal shows what could happen to any Hong Kong resident or even a tourist in transit through its airport. Our government must take this grave threat to Canadians’ safety in Hong Kong seriously.

january 1 civil front causeway bay (10) (Copy)
Photo: May James/HKFP.

The Hong Kong Bar Association noted that the National People’s Congress of China is seizing power that belongs to Hong Kong’s Legislative Council under its Basic Law. The national security law is the latest in a long series of Beijing’s actions suppressing human rights in the city. Last year, China’s puppet government in Hong Kong eroded civil rights and ignored millions who marched peacefully, an arrogance that sparked unrest for months. However, now Beijing apparently believes the world is so preoccupied with the Covid-19 pandemic that we will not respond when it launches yet another sneak attack on freedom and human rights.

See also: Letter to Hong Kong from Carrie Lam

Canada and the international community must defend these values which we share with the brave people of Hong Kong. Hong Kong is ground zero in a struggle against a rogue regime that has no respect for international law, holds Canadians as hostages, and uses intimidation and coercion to limit criticism of its actions, even in democratic countries. The Chinese Communist Party’s “Global China” ambitions are advanced by the use of sharp power around the world, and they are a major global threat to democracy and human rights.

Hong Kong-Canadian organizations across the country unite to show solidarity with our Hong Kong brothers and sisters. We call upon:

  1. Canadian civil society and elected representatives of all political parties to join us in our actions to show solidarity with the Hongkongers in their courageous fight for autonomy, freedom, human rights, and democracy, Canada to work closely with international allies to condemn China’s blatant violation of the Sino-British Joint Declaration and Hong Kong’s Basic Law by its unilateral imposition of the national security law on Hong Kong,
  2. Canada and the international community to revoke special provisions offered to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region if its autonomy and freedoms under the “One Country, Two Systems” framework is not preserved,
  3. Canada and the international community to confront China on the world stage by reviewing China’s role in the UN Security Council, WTO, WHO, and other international institutions, and
  4. Canada to use the Magnitsky Law to hold accountable Chinese and Hong Kong officials who violate human rights, and to implement sanctions against them and their immediate family members, including banning them from Canada and freezing their Canadian assets.

Signatories in alphabetical order:

Canada-Hong Kong Link 港加聯 (Toronto)
Canadian Voice in Hong Kong 香港加拿大人之聲 (Hong Kong)
Friends of Hong Kong, Edmonton 愛民頓香港之友 (Edmonton)
Halifax-Hong Kong Link (Halifax)
McMaster Stands with HK (Hamilton)
Movement for Democracy in China, Calgary 卡加利中國民主促進會 (Calgary)
Saskatchewan Stands with Hong Kong (Regina & Saskatoon)
Torontonian Hongkongers Action Group 多倫多香港人行動組 (Toronto)
UBC 繫港學民 The Enlightenment of HK (Vancouver)
Vancouver Hong Kong Forum Society 溫哥華香港協進會 (Vancouver)
Vancouver Hong Kong Political Activists 思政學陣 (Vancouver)
Vancouver Society in Support of Democratic Movement 溫支聯 (Vancouver)
Waterloo Lion Rock Spirit 滑鐵盧獅子山精神 (Toronto)

Guest contributors for Hong Kong Free Press.