Hong Kong’s Outspoken Pastors and Christian Leaders Face Arrest and Extradition Under China’s New Security Laws

Activists against the law say that Hong Kong residents would face the mainland’s “unjust” legal system.(Reuters: Tyrone Siu)

A blueprint for a controversial new national security law for Hong Kong, as proposed by China, has caused concerns that the semi-autonomous city’s vocal clergy who have supported the democracy movement could be extradited to and tried in mainland China.

The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, China’s rubber-stamp legislature, may formally approve the law, which broadens Beijing’s direct control over Hong Kong and erodes the city’s human rights and freedoms, at a June 28-30 meeting, according to The Epoch Times.

Submitted last week for deliberation, the draft covers four categories of crimes: succession, subversion of state power, local terrorist activities and collaborating with foreign or external foreign forces to endanger national security, according to the U.S.-based Christian persecution watchdog International Christian Concern.

“Under such laws, vocal Hong Kong clergy who have been supportive of Hong Kong’s democracy movement, such as Cardinal Joseph Zen and Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Ha Chi-shing, could be extradited to mainland China to be tried, since Beijing considers them to be threats to the regime,” said ICC.

“Other hundreds of protestant leaders or Christian organizations who have actively spoken out against the Hong Kong government might face the same fate, since Beijing has said it considers the mass protests that began last June as terrorist acts and any calls for Hong Kong’s independence from China as acts of sedition.”

In 1997, China had agreed for a “one country, two systems” arrangement to allow certain freedoms for Hong Kong when it received the city back from British control. The security law undercuts the promised autonomy.

“This law fundamentally compromises one-country, two-systems, and breach of the handover agreement. The details emerging put human rights in jeopardy,” the U.K.-based group Hong Kong Watch wrote on Twitter.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Anugrah Kumar

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