Press release

Hong Kong national security legislation: UK statement

Foreign Secretary David Cameron gave a statement in response to Hong Kong national security legislation (Article 23).

Foreign Secretary David Cameron said:

Hong Kong’s reputation as an international city was founded on respect for the rule of law, the independence of its institutions, its high degree of autonomy and protection of the rights and freedoms afforded to all people living and working there. This new law, rushed through the legislative process, will have far-reaching implications for all of these areas.

The broad definitions of national security and external interference will make it harder for those who live, work and do business in Hong Kong. It fails to provide certainty for international organisations, including diplomatic missions, who are operating there. It will entrench the culture of self-censorship which now dominates Hong Kong’s social and political landscape, and enable the continuing erosion of freedoms of speech, of assembly, and of the media.

The overall impact of Hong Kong’s new national security law is that it will further damage the rights and freedoms enjoyed in the city.  It undermines Hong Kong’s implementation of binding international obligations including the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

I urge the Hong Kong authorities to respect the rights and freedoms enshrined in the Basic Law, uphold its high degree of autonomy and the rule of law and act in accordance with its international commitments and legal obligations.

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Published 19 March 2024