Society management

China aims to ‘clean up’ civil society in Hong Kong: MAC report

At least 60 civic groups have been forced to disband or suspend operations over the past year, the Mainland Affairs Council said in a report.

  • By Chen Yu-fu and Liu Tzu-hsuan/staff reporter, with a staff editor

China is pushing for the unification of Hong Kong and “cleaning up” its civil society, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said in a report released on Monday.

The report analyzed the situation in Hong Kong as China marked the 25th anniversary of the transfer of sovereignty of the territory from British rule to Chinese rule last month.

The enactment of Hong Kong’s national security law more than two years ago led to an exodus of residents as the territory fell in a number of international freedom indices, according to the report.

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There were 7,403,000 people in Hong Kong at the end of last year, down 23,600 from 2020, he said.

The law suppresses the freedoms and human rights of Hong Kongers, as evidenced by increased lawsuits against student protesters, members of opposition political parties, democracy advocates, labor unions and civil groups, according to the report, adding that at least 60 civic groups have been forced to dissolve or suspend their activities over the past year.

When Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) visited the territory last month to celebrate the anniversary of the handover, he pointed to Beijing’s control of the territory as a defining feature of the “one country, two systems” model. “, according to the report.

Beijing’s influence over Hong Kong’s electoral system requires elected officials to be “patriots”, a departure from the territory’s basic law, which stipulates a “Hong Kong ruled by Hong Kong people”, the report said.

Hong Kong’s Legislative Council is gradually coming under the control of China’s National People’s Congress, raising concerns that controversial laws could easily be passed, he said.

There has been no development in official exchanges between Taiwan and Hong Kong due to tensions in the Taiwan Strait, he said, adding that trade and people-to-people exchanges remain strong.

In a show of support for Hong Kongers, Taiwan changed its regulations for residents of Hong Kong and Macau studying in Taiwan (香港澳門居民來台就學辦法), which now allows high schools and vocational schools to admit students from both territories, he said. .

The regulations governing residency or permanent residence for people from the Hong Kong region and Macau region (香港澳門居民進入臺灣地區及居留定居許可辦法) have also been revised to allow Hong Kong job seekers Kong and Macao to extend their visas for up to one year, he added.

Taiwan has also strengthened its risk management system as Beijing tightens its control over Hong Kong, he said.

Amendments to the National Security Law (國家安全法) were passed to prevent Taiwanese from assisting foreign countries or hostile foreign forces in obtaining, using or disclosing trade secrets involving “essential” technology through theft , cheating, coercion or reproduction without permission, he said. , adding that the law governing relations between people in the Taiwan region and the mainland region (臺灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例) has been amended to prevent Chinese-funded companies from using Taiwanese companies as vessels. to invest in Taiwan.

The government will continue to closely monitor the situation in Hong Kong and take action against any national security or human rights threats to safeguard Taiwan’s well-being and sovereignty, he said.

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