Amnesty International says it is shutting down its two offices in Hong Kong by the end of the year because of the effect of the national security law that Beijing imposed on the city.
Hundreds of people, including several prominent pro-democracy activists, have been arrested and tried since the Chinese legislature approved the law in 2020 in response to massive and sometimes violent pro-democracy demonstrations the year before.
Under the law, anyone believed to be carrying out terrorism, separatism, subversion of state power or collusion with foreign forces could be tried and face life in prison if convicted.
“This decision, made with a heavy heart, has been driven by Hong Kong’s national security law, which has made it effectively impossible for human rights organizations in Hong Kong to work freely and without fear of serious reprisals from the government,” said Anjhula Mya Singh Bais, chair of Amnesty International’s board.
The human rights group joins several other trade unions and non-governmental organizations in shutting down operations in the financial hub since the law was enacted.
Amnesty issued a lengthy report back in June on the effects of the law on the one-year anniversary of its approval and concluded that the measure has been used to “carry out a wide range of human rights violations.”
Critics in Hong Kong say the law violates China’s promise of granting Hong Kong an unusual amount of freedoms when Britain handed over control of the city in 1997.
Some information for this report came from the Associated Press and Reuters.