Hong Kong security law targets Taiwan political organizations

Issuance of Taiwanese visas could be viewed as violation of security law

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Police detain protestors in Causeway Bay.

Police detain protestors in Causeway Bay. (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A new detail of China's draconian security law for Hong Kong announced Monday (July 6) will require Taiwanese political organizations and agents to provide Hong Kong police information on activities in Hong Kong, possibly jeopardizing basic services such as the issuance of visas to Hong Kong citizens.

On Monday, Hong Kong suddenly announced seven implementation rules for Article 43 of the Hong Kong national security law, which refer to measures taken to handle offenses "endangering national security." Among these new rules are two articles that are directed specifically at political organizations in Taiwan.

Under Article 5, which applies to foreign and Taiwanese political organizations and agents, Hong Kong police, under the guise of "national security," are able to require such bodies to provide information on "the activities, the personal particulars, as well as the assets, income, sources of income, and expenditure of the organisation in Hong Kong." This information must then be handed over within a "specified period."

The document again refers to Taiwan again under Article 7, which states that if the foreign or Taiwanese political organization fails to provide requested information regarding an "offence endangering national security," it will be subject a fine of 100,000 Hong Kong dollars and six months imprisonment, unless it can prove that it had tried to comply to the best of its ability but was unable to for reasons beyond its control. If someone in the organization is found to be submitting "false, incorrect, or incomplete" information, they could face a fine of 100,000 Hong Kong dollars and up to two years in prison.

Also granted under the new implementation rules are the powers to search places for evidence, restrict persons under investigation from leaving Hong Kong, seize property related to crimes endangering national security, remove electronic messages (social media) and require publishers to cooperate, apply to intercept communications and covert surveillance, and require the submission of relevant information and material.

Taiwan's main representative office in Hong Kong is the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Hong Kong (TECO), and there are fears that these new rules could hamper its operations. Specifically, the requirements to provide information about an offence endangering national security and restrict individuals from leaving Hong Kong could greatly hinder Taiwan's ability to issue visas to Hongkongers wishing to flee oppression in the territory.

The full text of the article can be seen on the Hong Kong government website.