August 13 2020 GM
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Time: 9:00am EST / 1:00pm UTC+0
Topic: What is Hong Kong National Security Law; why we should concern about it
How can the Hong Kong National Security Law affect civil society in Hong Kong? How can Hong Kong National Security Law affect everyone globally especially activists around the world? We will answer these questions and we will discuss how should the international community support friends and civil society in Hong Kong, smartly.
Presenters Lulu and Kaia, Open Culture Foundation
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Topic of Discussion: Hong Kong Security Law
This Glitter Meetup was focused on Hong Kong National Security Law, and it was led by two featured guests: Kaia is an activist, also a digital security trainer working on digital protection mostly in Southeast Asia and now focusing on East Asia (to be exact - Hong Kong), you can find her as @kaia on Mattermost. Lulu is working in an organization focused one open-source, internet freedom and how to bring traditional NGOs to work with tech communities, and she is based in Taipei. You can reach her on Mattermost as @lulukeng.
- The Hong Kong National Security Law (NSL) came into effect on 30 June, 2020. The law is set to criminalise secession, subversion and collusion with foreign forces, but will also effectively curtail protests and freedom of speech. Later, Implementation Rules for Article 43 of the National Security Law came into effect immediately on July 7, which gave more power to authority and police force to enforce by the reasons of national security.
- National Law is directly passed and authorized by Beijing. The power of National Security Law is above all HK local laws, and threatens the sovereignty of Hong Kong systems. Articles 29, 30, 36, 38, 41, 43, 55 and 62 are especially worrying.
- After doing some research, it's clear this law was set up to crack down on the anti extradition protests that have been happening since June 2019. Each of the articles inside is tailored to control the mass rally. The Beijing government has long planned to enact this law, probably since the umbrella movements in 2014 but they did not have the popular votes in HK legislative council.
- When we talked about how the NSL affects civic spaces and freedom of expression, participants and presenters shared various points:
- People started to delete the posts on social media, and stopped openly discussing the issue. Chilling Effect may get bigger and bigger.
- Agnes Chow, a 23-years old HK politician was arrested on Aug. 10th. She sent out the message right before she was arrested and said: Don't be numb, maintain the anger, keep helping each other.
- HK CSOs may be internationally isolated as Chinese CSOs. Every international individual and organization who wants to support local groups will dramatically increase its risks. At least the international funding may have to stop immediately.
- Apply Daily's founder was arrested and their entire building was raided and swept by the police, acting under NSL. I'm afraid that this is just the beginning
- When we talk about the hopes that folks have in the short term and long term, they know that it is impossible to push back the NSL, but they're hoping for more international support , even though they don’t know exactly what it looks like.
- When asked about how the NSL affects international relationships, we agreed on the fact that Hong Kong used to be the important international center in Asia. However, under HKNSL, international operations has to be careful if the funding will go through the banks in HK, the document will go through any internal branch in HK, or the web service (ex. VPN) will go through the server in HK.
- With this international effects, we see the firsts actions like RTHK taking down an interview with Nathan Law (one of the hardcore activist and young politician) or VPN providers removing their servers from Hong Kong, since, according to that HK National Security Law, all the data in HK server belong to Beijing.
- When we talk about the ways folks and organizations can help, the first idea suggested was lobbying other governments to withdraw or suspend the extradition treaty or mutual legal assistance treaties with Hong Kong and China. It's also some kind of pressure for the Beijing government: USA / Canada / AU / UK / New Zealand stopped MLATs with China after this National Security Law. So China can't ask those countries to transfer the people back to China when China says they are guilty.
- Another idea mentioned was lobbying the tech giants to not compromise their data to China government requests, as of now, most of them are saying that they will temporarily suspend all data requests, but that is not enough.
- A last idea for helping folks in Hong Kong was to connect with trusty VPN that could have their Asia serve in Japan.
- Some good indicators are that the election primaries last month were actually good (majority of HKgers supporting pro-democracy camps), although this led the HK government to postpone a year for the elections. In the past 5 years, all HKers stand up to fight against the bully power of China, and no one dare to do that much before.
- This is a summary of the incidents that have occurred since the law was enacted in June 30:
- July 2, 10 protesters arrested under the law; and the following week, 4 student activists arrested
- Arrest warrants were issued for HKgers who're at overseas now
- HK public opinion research institute (PORI.hk) raided, a night before the election primaries - under multiple reasons of computer crime - due to PORI servers hacked few years ago, data breaches
- Apple Daily's founder, CEO and related managerial person arrested under NSL - collusion with foreign forces, released on bail; travel documents seized
- Apple Daily's office building raided (by attended with 200+ police officers), documents and devices seized; police also require staff who entering the building to register himself
- Three pro-democracy young activists (including Agnes Chow) arrested at the same day Apple Daily was raided; released on bail; travel documents seized
- One reporter of international media was arrested recently under NSL
- Elections on September postponed for a year
- Prohibited gathering - not more than 2 people
- RTHK ordered to takedown an inclusive interview with a young political activist - Nathan Law