Human rights group Amnesty International will close its two offices in Hong Kong this year, citing the city’s Beijing imposed draconian national security law as the reason, becoming the latest non-governmental organisation to cease operations amid a crackdown on political dissent.
The human rights group said the law, imposed by China in June last year, makes it “effectively impossible” for them to operate.
The local office will close by October 31, and the regional office will move out by the end of the year.
The broadly worded national security law in Hong Kong criminalises secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces.
Critics say it is aimed at crushing dissent but China says it is meant to maintain stability.
Anjhula Mya Singh Bais, chair of Amnesty’s international board, said in a statement that a crackdown under the law has forced at least 35 groups to disband this year.
“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 organisations in Hong Kong to work freely and without fear of serious reprisals,” she said.
“The environment of repression and perpetual uncertainty created by the national security law makes it impossible to know what activities might lead to criminal sanctions.”
Among the groups to have disbanded this year were several leading trade unions, NGOs and professional groups.
Several other NGOs, including the New School for Democracy, have relocated to Taiwan. (Source: BBC)