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Treason In Hong Kong?

Recorded on July 7, 2003

The Heritage Foundation's Lehrman Auditorium

On July 9, the Hong Kong Legislative Council will pass new legislation under Article 23 of Hong Kong's "Basic Law" which criminalizes an entire spectrum of political speech, limits freedoms of association, and chills journalistic coverage of controversial issues in both China as well as Hong Kong. Virtually every observer outside the Hong Kong and Chinese governments fears this new legislation threatens Hong Kong's basic freedoms and its political autonomy. The enactment of Article 23 could put Hong Kong's civil rights, labor, academic and religious communities in danger of prosecution and imprisonment. With its chief executive chosen by Beijing and the limited independence of its courts, Hong Kong is giving Beijing more and more control over key levers of power. Although these laws have been narrowly drawn, many fear Hong Kong's authorities will ultimately be unable to resist the temptation to intimidate and imprison political dissidents, journalists, religious and labor leaders in furtherance of Beijing's political ends. The U.S. Congress has already expressed its concerns about Hong Kong's future and what it means for American interests there.