Amnesty International to shut Hong Kong offices

Rights group Amnesty International will shut its offices in Hong Kong by the end of this year.

That decision was driven by Hong Kong's national security law.

In a statement on Monday (October 25), the group said the China-imposed law has, quote, "made it effectively impossible for human rights organizations in Hong Kong to work freely and without fear of serious reprisals from the government."

In the past, Hong Kong had served as one of Asia's leading NGO hubs, with groups drawn to its robust rule of law and autonomy that was promised for Hong Kong after the control of the former British colony was returned to Beijing in 1997.

But since the implementation of the security law last year, authorities have crushed a once vibrant civil society, and curbed free speech and protests.

At least 35 prominent groups have disbanded, including several leading trade unions, NGOs and professional groups.

While some groups have relocated to Taiwan, others are urgently shredding files and deleting photos and online material, fearing even once-innocuous details could be used against them under Hong Kong's evolving security regime.

Hong Kong and Chinese authorities say the national security law enshrines individual rights, justifying the laws as necessary to restore stability after mass protests in 2019 when millions took to the streets over many months.

There was no immediate response from the Hong Kong government to a Reuters request for comment.

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