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港版《國安法》下香港恐成警察社會

2020/6/28 — 15:17

  • 人大常委會今日起審議港版《國安法》,料可於本次會議通過
  • 秘密行事的國安機構將威脅人權
  • 《國安法》可為引渡案件至中國司法系統鋪路

人大常委會準備審議並通過港版《國安法》。國際特赦組織指,除非當局在港版《國安法》採取措施確保人權可獲保障,否則,中國推行這條極具威脅性的法案將會令所有在港人士面臨被任意逮捕或遭受不公平審訊的危機。

人大常委會今天(28日)在北京展開一連三日會議,直至6月30日。預料北京當局將在會上表決港版《國安法》。當局至今尚未公開法案任何細節。

國際特赦組織中國組主管羅助華 (Joshua Rosenzweig) 說:「香港正站在前路未明、動盪不安的邊緣。國安法可能凌駕香港現有保障大眾免受國家鎮壓的法律,令在港人士自由極受威脅。」除非中國政府能確保該法能在各方面都可滴水不漏人權保障,否則當局必須摒棄港版《國安法》立法計劃。

廣告

國安機構恐為警察社會鋪路

港版《國安法》禁止有在港人士、機構或組織「從事危害國家安全的活動」。全國人大常委會料於本次會議上通過有關條例,但不會進行公眾諮詢。

廣告

國際特赦組織對立法建議有一連串人權關注,尤其該法授權中央和香港政府在港設立國安機構。在中國大陸,此類的國安機構都有系統地監察、騷擾、恐嚇和秘密拘留維權人士和異見分子,當中有不少酷刑和其他虐待的跡象。如果法案中沒有明確保證這些機構及其人員,要和香港政府受到同樣約束,確保他們履行尊重和保障人權的責任,則難以要求這些國安機構及人員為其侵犯人權的行為問責。

羅助華稱:「香港當局已開始利用法律手段作武器對付市民,一個秘密行事的國安機構將會提供更多工具讓當局打壓人權,將香港變成一個警察社會。」

「香港刑事程序中,執行人權保障的力度本已有不足,若駐港國安部門以中國國安部門那套秘密方式在港行事,又可在港獲豁免毋須遵守香港現行保障人權的法例,將進一步削弱目前刑事程序中對人權的保障。」

案件送中審理危機重來

中國官媒上週發表有關《國安法》的細節,包含一連串令人擔憂的建議和一系列法律漏洞,讓大陸當局可拘留和審判在港的疑犯。建議包括在「特定情形」下賦予中國當局在港「行使管轄權」,處理涉及國家安全的案件。當局至今未有釐清有關權力的定義,但有香港高級官員在公開聲明指,有關權力賦予大陸當局酌情接管任何案件。

此外,因國安法遭扣留的人士,其待遇會否與一般刑事疑犯不同,目前仍是未知。至今亦未知這些被捕人士會否被拘留於特別扣留設施、會否無了期扣留、以及會否被引渡至大陸。2019年香港政府提出的《引渡法》修訂一度引發大型示威,最後相關建議被擱置。立法建議又提出行政長官可以派指定法官審理有關國家安全的案件。此舉有可能妨礙司法機構的獨立性。羅助華說:「當局稱《國安法》只會影響極少數的人,但說法難以服眾。事實上,《國安法》當中的壓制性措施,讓政府可以隨意針對任何人。」

誇大安全風險 旨在推動立法

中港官員稱有必要盡快立法,以抗衡在港的「恐怖主義」和暴力威脅。可是不論在2019年反《引渡法》修訂示威,以致近期在新冠肺炎後重現的小規模示威,絕大部份都是和平進行。聯合國七名人權專員就香港反恐法例中的定義籠統、定義不清表示關注。

羅助華續稱:「當局一方面試圖倉促立《國安法》,繞過公眾諮詢及立法機關審議;別一方面以剷除恐怖主義威脅等毫無根據的藉口,試圖將立法合理化。」

「中國指《國安法》將保障人權,但卻沒有任何相應的人權保障和執行條款,令承諾形同虛設。假如《國安法》真的如中國政府所指,旨在打擊國家安全威脅和反恐,那法例必須明確列出,行使和平表達、集會和結社自由等權利可獲豁免。」

中國國安法打壓先例有跡可尋

港版《國安法》列出「分裂國家」、「顛覆國家政權」、「恐怖活動」和「勾結外國或者境外勢力危害國家安全」等四類「犯罪行為」。中國於2015年制定的《國安法》中同樣包含這些範圍廣泛、含糊不清的罪行。國際特赦組織記錄了中國當局有系統和廣泛地濫用《國安法》打壓維權人士。律師、學者、記者、牧師和非政府組織工作人員通通因行使其表達自由和捍衛人權而被判罪違反《國安法》。

【英文版本】

China: National security law for Hong Kong risks turning city into police state

  • Law expected to be adopted at NPCSC session starting today
  • Secretive security agencies pose threat to human rights
  • Law could pave way for extradition to mainland

China’s national security law for Hong Kong will put everybody in the city at risk of arbitrary detention and unfair trial unless underpinned by measures to guarantee protection of human rights, Amnesty International said today as Beijing lawmakers prepare to adopt the dangerous legislation.

Chinese authorities are expected to vote through the law at the upcoming National People’s Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC) extraordinary session – which runs from today until Tuesday 30 June – despite having not yet publicly disclosed its full details.

“Hong Kong stands at the cliff-edge of an uncertain and unsettling future, its freedoms threatened by national security legislation that could override the laws currently protecting the city’s inhabitants from the worst excesses of state-sponsored repression,” said Joshua Rosenzweig, head of Amnesty International’s China Team.

“The Chinese government must abandon plans to pass a national security law for Hong Kong unless it can provide water-tight guarantees that the legislation conforms with human rights in all aspects.”

Security agencies pave way for police state

Under the national security law, all individuals, institutions and organizations in Hong Kong would be prohibited from “engaging in activities that endanger national security”. The NPCSC looks set to adopt it in its current session, without public consultation. 

Amnesty International has a range of human rights concerns about the proposed law. Not least that it would authorize the Beijing central government and the Hong Kong government to set up a national security office in the city.

On the mainland, such agencies systematically monitor, harass, intimidate and secretly detain human rights defenders and dissidents, with many indications of torture and other ill-treatment.

Without explicit guarantee in the law that these agencies and their personnel will be bound by the local government’s existing responsibilities to respect and protect human rights, it may be difficult – if not impossible – to hold them accountable for violations of human rights.

“The Hong Kong authorities are already weaponizing the local law against too many of its citizens ­­– a secretive national security agency simply creates more tools to crack down on human rights and risks turning the city into a police state,” said Joshua Rosenzweig.

“The already inadequate implementation of safeguards in Hong Kong’s criminal process will be even less effective if mainland-style security agencies are exempted from complying with human rights in line with Hong Kong laws.”

Threat of extradition returns

Details about the national security law published by Chinese state media last week contain a series of worrying proposals, including a set of frightening loopholes that would enable mainland authorities to detain and try suspects.

Among them is a plan to equip Chinese authorities with the power to “exercise jurisdiction” over Hong Kong national security cases “under specific circumstances”.

Although the precise meaning of this power is unclear, public statements by senior Hong Kong officials indicate that this could essentially provide mainland authorities with the discretion to take over any case they wish.

There are also questions over whether the law will allow national security detainees to be treated differently from other criminal suspects.

This could include being held in special detention facilities or being detained for indefinite periods of time. It could even involve being extradited to the mainland – a threat that prompted, and was blunted by, the 2019 protest movement.

In addition, the city’s chief executive would get a hand in selecting which judges are able to hear national security cases – potentially impeding the independence of the judiciary.

“The authorities’ assertion that the national security law will only affect a tiny minority is hardly reassuring when the law includes repressive measures that could be used to target literally anyone the government chooses,” said Joshua Rosenzweig.

Law pushed through on basis of exaggerated security concerns

Hong Kong and Chinese officials claim there is an urgent need for security laws to counter the threat of “terrorism” and violence in the city. However, the protesters that marched against the extradition bill in 2019 – and have recently returned on a smaller scale in the wake of COVID-19 – have been overwhelmingly peaceful.

Seven United Nations human rights expert bodies have expressed concerns about the overly broad and imprecise definitions in the counter-terrorism legislation for Hong Kong.

“As well as rushing this national security law through in a manner that avoids all meaningful public or political scrutiny, the authorities are also trying to justify its necessity on the unsubstantiated pretext that Hong Kong must root out a terrorist threat,” said Joshua Rosenzweig.

“China’s promise that the national security law will respect human rights is worthless without the legal provisions to guarantee and enforce it. If this law is truly aimed at combating genuine national security threats and terrorism, as Beijing claims, then it must include clear exemptions for the peaceful exercise of rights such as freedom of expression, assembly and association.”

Chilling echoes of China’s security law

The so-called crimes of separatism (or “splittism”), subversion, terrorism and “collusion with foreign or overseas powers” to endanger national security will be banned under the law.

These broad, vaguely defined offences are similar to those that feature in China’s own National Security Law, which was enacted in 2015.

Amnesty International has documented the systematic and widespread abuse of that law by the Chinese authorities to target human rights defenders. Lawyers, scholars, journalists, pastors and NGO workers have all been convicted of national security offences for simply exercising their freedom of expression and defending human rights.

Background

Once it is signed into law by Chinese President Xi Jinping, the national security law would be listed under Annex III of the Basic Law – Hong Kong’s mini-constitution – after being “promulgated” by the Hong Kong authorities. This means it would become law on the day it is adopted by Hong Kong’s chief executive, without scrutiny by Hong Kong’s Legislative Council – effectively bypassing the local legislature.

Hong Kong is guaranteed certain rights under the Basic Law and through being bound by international human rights treaties such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).

The national security law draft reportedly includes a guarantee of respect for human rights, including the ICCPR and ICESCR. But crucially, it appears that national security laws could override these protections.

China’s national security law has a similar provision on respect for human rights, yet this has provided little or no protection to people targeted.

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