Ottawa, ON – The Hon. Michael Chong, Conservative Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, issued the following statement in response to proposed legislation under Article 23 in Hong Kong, which is open to public consultation until February 28:

“Conservatives are deeply concerned about proposed national security legislation under Article 23 in Hong Kong, which threatens the fundamental rights and freedoms of Hong Kongers and severely undermines the ‘one country, two systems’ framework that is guaranteed by the Sino-British Joint Declaration.

“This proposed legislation would further criminalize free speech, debate and peaceful protest in Hong Kong. It would also increase police powers over pre-charge detention and eliminate procedural steps in national security trials, further undermining the rule of law in Hong Kong.

“The Hong Kong government’s recent acts of repression make it clear that the Hong Kong authorities would abuse the proposed new offences to suppress legitimate dissent and civil rights. Under the PRC-imposed National Security Law, more than 280 people – including pro-democracy advocates – have been inappropriately arrested under the pretext of endangering national security.

“This is not the first time that the government of Hong Kong has attempted to pass national security legislation. In 2003, widespread protests and opposition forced the government to abandon similar legislation. Unfortunately, recent PRC-imposed changes to Hong Kong’s electoral system, which give Beijing control, mean that the proposed legislation is expected to easily pass.

“Through a joint statement with 85 other civil society groups, organizations such as Hong Kong Watch have raised concerns about the proposed legislation and the further erosion of democracy and civil rights in Hong Kong. 

“We stand in solidarity with the people of Hong Kong and against the increasing repression of their civil rights. We urge the government of Hong Kong to respect the Sino-British Joint Declaration, an international treaty which guarantees Hong Kong’s rights and freedoms until 2047. “Common sense Conservatives call on the Trudeau government to publicly voice its concerns about the proposed national security legislation and stand up for Hong Kong’s civil rights as guaranteed in the Sino-British Joint Declaration.”