China is pushing for Hong Kong’s unification and “cleansing” its civil society, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said in a report published on Monday
The report analyzed the situation in Hong Kong as China last month celebrated the 25th anniversary of the handover of the territory’s sovereignty from British to Chinese rule.
The promulgation of Hong Kong’s National Security Law more than two years ago led to an exodus of residents as the territory tumbled in a number of international freedom indices, the report said.
There were 7,403,000 residents in Hong Kong at the end of last year, a fall of 23,600 residents from 2020, it said.
The law suppresses the freedoms and human rights of Hong Kongers, as seen by the increase in prosecution of student protesters, political opposition party members, democracy advocates, trade unions and civil groups, the report said, adding that at least 60 civic groups were forced to disband or suspend operations in the past year.
When Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) last month visited the territory to celebrate the anniversary of the handover, he emphasized Beijing’s control of the territory as a defining feature of the “one country, two systems” model, the report said.
Beijing’s influence over Hong Kong’s electoral system requires elected officials to be “patriots,” a deviation from the territory’s Basic Law, which stipulates a “Hong Kong governed by Hong Kongers,” the report said.
The Hong Kong Legislative Council is gradually coming under the control of the Chinese National People’s Congress, prompting fears that controversial laws could easily be passed, it said.
There have been no developments in official exchanges between Taiwan and Hong Kong due to tensions across the Taiwan Strait, it said, adding that commercial and people-to-people exchanges remain strong.
In a show of support to Hong Kongers, Taiwan amended its Regulations for Hong Kong and Macau Residents Studying in Taiwan (香港澳門居民來台就學辦法), which now permits high schools and vocational schools to admit students from the two territories, it said.
The Regulations Governing Residency or Permanent Residency for People of the Hong Kong Area and the Macau Area (香港澳門居民進入臺灣地區及居留定居許可辦法) was also revised to allow jobseekers from Hong Kong and Macau to extend their visas for up to a year, it added.
Taiwan has also enhanced its risk management system as Beijing tightens its control over Hong Kong, it said.
Amendments to the National Security Act (國家安全法) were passed to prevent Taiwanese from helping foreign countries or hostile foreign forces to obtain, use or leak business secrets involving “core” technologies through theft, cheating, coercion or reproduction without authorization, it said, adding that the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (臺灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例) was amended to prevent Chinese-funded businesses from using Taiwanese companies as vessels to invest in Taiwan.
The government would continue to monitor the situation in Hong Kong closely and would take action against any national security or human rights threats to safeguard the well-being and sovereignty of Taiwan, it said.
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