Christian human rights campaigner Benedict Rogers has spoken of his heartache for the future of Hong Kong after Beijing passed the contentious national security law.
Rogers, East Asia Team Leader at Christian Solidarity Worldwide, said the passing of the legislation was “heartbreaking” and represented a “grave threat” to the freedoms of the territory.
The development, he added, has left Hong Kongers “in fear” for their future, safety and freedoms.
“Twenty-three years ago today, Hong Kong was handed over to China with the promise that Hong Kong’s way of life, basic freedoms and the high degree of autonomy would be protected under the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ principle … that is valid for the first 50 years after the handover until 2047,” he said.
“And yet today, less then halfway through the lifespan of that promise, the Chinese Communist Party has flagrantly broken that promise to the people of Hong Kong and breached that international treaty.
“The imposition of the national security law on Hong Kong poses a grave threat to Hong Kong’s basic freedoms, which have already been seriously eroded over recent years.”
Rogers criticised the way in which the legislation was passed by China’s National People’s Congress rather than the Hong Kong legislature, saying it “seems to bring an end” to the high degree of autonomy promised to the region.
However, he went on to share a message of hope with the people of Hong Kong as he spoke of the “unexpected” victories that he had encountered in his many years of campaigning for human rights.
“Even though you may be entering into a period of great darkness and grave danger, do not lose hope,” he said.
“History shows that no dictatorship lasts forever. I’ve been involved in other struggles for freedom and freedom has come sometimes when we don’t even expect it. Unexpected victories, unexpected dawns come.
“I’ve seen countries freed [where] I didn’t necessarily think [that] would happen. And I believe the same can happen for the people of Hong Kong, and for all the people of China.”