Response to Hong Kong Government Imposing New Repressive Measures on Christopher Mung and 5 Activists in the UK

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On 12 June, Hong Kong government used the powers under the Safeguarding National Security Ordinance (commonly referred to as Article 23) to impose special measures on Christopher Mung, the executive director of Hong Kong Labour Rights Monitor, along with 5 other activists in exile in the UK. The special measures include cancelling their Hong Kong SAR passports, prohibiting people from making available funds for them, engaging in any activities in connection with immovable property, and establishing or investing in joint ventures or partnerships with them.

This is the first time Hong Kong authorities exercised these powers under the newly-enacted national security law. The law was passed in March after an exceedingly hasty legislative process without any democratic participation. Separate from the National Security Law imposed by China in 2020, the new law targets so-called treason, insurrection, sabotage, external interference, sedition and theft of state secrets and espionage, and gives further power to the authorities to crack down on civil society and target dissidents, including trade unionists and labour rights activists.

Mung is one of the most wanted activists from the Hong Kong government. On 3 July last year, the Hong Kong National Security Police announced a HK$1 million (US$128,000) bounty on him and seven other Hong Kong activists in exile. He is wanted on a charge of “incitement to secession” under the National Security Law due to his speech delivered at the French Democratic Confederation of Labour (CFDT) congress.

Following the announcement of a bounty on Mung and other democracy activists, this is another attempt by the Hong Kong government to silence dissenting voices abroad and force individuals to sever ties with targeted activists. The behaviour of the Hong Kong government once again violates international human rights standards and should be strongly condemned. The Hong Kong government’s deployment of the newly-enacted national security law to target trade unionists, human rights defenders, and pro-democracy activists severely contravenes the International Labour Conventions and the UN Human Rights Conventions, completely disregarding its obligations as a signatory region. We demand that the arrest warrants, bounty, and other repressive measures against Christopher Mung and other Hong Kong activists be rescinded. We also call on the international community, particularly trade unions, union federations, and national centres, to stand with Christopher Mung and other Hongkongers.