10/13/2020, 16.27
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Scholars issue appeal against security law China imposed on Hong Kong

More than 100 scholars from local and foreign universities signed the appeal. China’s censorship threatens freedom of expression and academic freedom. The law raises concerns over the extraterritorial nature of its provisions. Signatories call on local authorities to act.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – More than 100 scholars from local and foreign universities issued a  joint statement today condemning Hong Kong’s new national security law.

They call on the international community to defend freedom of expression against the "overreach" of China’s censorship.

Imposed by Beijing to control dissent and suppress Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement, the legislation went into effect on 30 June. It introduces the offences of separatism, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with foreign forces.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) claims it was introduced to restore order, but anti-Beijing groups, who have been fighting for democracy in Hong Kong and the maintenance of its liberal system, accuse Chinese President Xi Jinping of trying to stifle the aspirations of the people of the Special Autonomous Region.

Signatories to the statement come from 71 institutions in 16 countries, including US, UK, German and Australian universities.

According to the signatories, the law’s security provisions undermine academic freedom since it criminalises any criticism of the CCP, even outside Hong Kong and China.

They express great concern over its extra-territoriality; under Article 38, foreign students, professors or researchers travelling to China or Hong Kong could be arrested for their academic work if it is deemed contrary to the dictates of the Chinese government.

With their statement, the scholars want Hong Kong’s Legislative Council (LegCo) and government to tell Beijing that the security law is unacceptable.

Similarly, they want the authorities of the former British colony to review the legislation, so that universities are guaranteed full academic freedom.

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