Skip to content

Press Release

Coalition Signs Joint Statement to Oppose Article 23

March 22, 2024 

Article 23 Joint Statement Banner

Joint statement to oppose Article 23:

We, the undersigned organizations, firmly oppose the passage of the Safeguarding National Security Bill, commonly referred to as “Article 23,” set to be enforced in Hong Kong this Saturday, March 23. We condemn the Hong Kong S.A.R. government’s plan to dismantle Hong Kong’s autonomy under the guise of “national security,” which further exacerbates the existing crackdown on human rights.

Article 23’s vague and broad definitions of crimes adversely impact not only individuals facing political arrests and prosecutions, but also everyone else in Hong Kong. The law opens the door to further arbitrary arrests and detentions while escalating censorship, creating a global chilling effect.

Article 23 is designed to impact an unprecedentedly wide range of people. The law, for example, defines the crime of “espionage” as applicable to those who, “with intent to endanger national security,” obtain, collect, or possess information that is “directly or indirectly useful to an external force” (clause 41). It also broadly criminalizes acts with “seditious intention,” which includes an intention to bring anyone in Hong Kong “into hatred, contempt or disaffection” against the Chinese and Hong Kong governments, institutions or constitutional order. With such low thresholds for prosecutions, Article 23 could provide a pretext for even more politically-motivated prosecutions and convictions.

Article 23 exacerbates the persecution of political prisoners and compounds the existing human-rights violations under the National Security Law (N.S.L.). The new legislation reinforces a separate judicial process for political cases, which involves appointed national security police officers in addition to handpicked prosecutors and judges, and deprives suspects of important procedural protections that were once available under Hong Kong’s legal system. Political prisoners charged under the N.S.L. have already been routinely denied bail, subjected to months of pre-trial detention, and deprived of the right to a jury trial. The new law further undermines these procedural rights by allowing the police to not only extend the period of detention without charge from the current 48 hours to a further 14 days, but also limit suspects’ access to counsel.

In addition to those facing political persecution, international businesses and Hong Kongers not directly involved in politics will also feel the impact of Article 23, as the law intensifies existing censorship. Following the N.S.L., the Hong Kong government forced major media outlets, such as Stand News and Apple Daily, to shut down. With the passage of Article 23, investigative journalism and reporting on “sensitive” political issues – given the broad definitions of “state secrets” and “sedition” – become even riskier. Article 23’s chilling effect on the freedom of expression extends to the Hong Kong diaspora globally, as the new law applies to Hong Kong residents anywhere in the world. The law’s extraterritorial implications will undoubtedly set the stage for heightened transnational repression.

The S.A.R. government expedited the passage of Article 23 despite mounting international pressure to uphold human rights. The U.N. Human Rights Committee issued a list of recommendations in 2022, urging the S.A.R. government to prioritize human rights. During the Universal Periodic Review on China in January this year, eight U.N. member states also called on the People’s Republic of China to repeal or review the N.S.L. Despite these clear and urgent appeals, the S.A.R. government opted to expedite the passage of Article 23 – clearing all legislative hurdles within 50 days of the initial public consultation.

We call on governments around the world and the international community to:

1. Impose sanctions on Hong Kong and Chinese officials responsible for undermining the rule of law in Hong Kong, particularly those involved in the passage of the two pieces of “national security” legislation;
2. Review the status of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Offices globally, with an eye towards shuttering their operations;
3. Offer asylum and other humanitarian pathways and provide temporary travel documents to Hong Kong human-rights defenders, especially those who have been labeled by S.A.R. authorities as “absconders” and are likely to face passport cancellation in the near future.

Signed by:

1. 29 Principles

2. AfricaHongKongFrance (AHKF)

3. Arizona for Hong Kong


5. Asian Lawyers Network (ALN)

6. Assembly of Citizens’ Representatives, Hong Kong

7. Association of Cosmopolitan Culture Action Taichung

8. Association of Hong Kongers in Western Australia

9. Athenai Institue

10. Aus-Hong Kong Connex Inc

11. Australia Capital Hong Kong Association

12. Australia Hong Kong Link

13. Australia Tibet Council

14. Australian and New Zealand Alliance for Victims of the Chinese Communist Regime

15. Bay Area Friends of Tibet

16. Befria Hongkong (Sweden)

17. Birmingham HongKongers

18. Blossom Community HK CIC

19. Bonham Tree Aid CIC

20. Bristol Hongkongers

21. Britons in Hong Kong

22. Campaign For Uyghurs

23. Canada-Hong Kong Link

24. Center For Uyghur Studies

25. Chicago Solidarity with Hong Kong (CSHK)

26. Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD)

27. Coalition of Students Resisting China

28. Committee For Freedom in Hong Kong Foundation

29. Committee to Protect Journalists

30. Czechs Support Tibet

31. Democracy for Hong Kong (D4HK)

32. Dialogue China

33. European Belarus Foundation

34. European Values Center for Security Policy

35. Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong. 

36. Finnish Hongkongers

37. Flow HK

38. Formosan Association for Human Rights

39. Frankfurt Stands With Hong Kong

40. Free Tibet

41. Free Uyghur Now

42. Freedom House

43. Freiheit für Hongkong e.V. (FfHK)

44. Friends of Hong Kong (Calgary)

45. Fundacíon Para la Libertad de Nicaragua

46. Germany Stands with Hong Kong

47. Global Alliance for Tibet & Persecuted Minorities

48. Grupo de Apoio ao Tibete – Portugal

49. HKersUnited

50. Hong Kong Aid

51. Hong Kong Affairs Association of Berkeley

52. Hong Kong Committee in Norway

53. Hong Kong Democracy Council

54. Hongkonger Community Center (HKCC Brisbane)

55. Hongkonger in Deutschland e.V.

56. Hongkongers in Britain (HKB)

57. HongKongers in Leeds

58. Hong Kongers in San Diego

59. Hong Kongers in San Francisco Bay Area

60. Hong Kong Forum, Los Angeles

61. Hong Kong International Alliance Brisbane (HKIA Brisbane)

62. Hong Kong Media Overseas (HKMO)

63. Hong Kong Outlanders in Taiwan

64. Hong Kong Scots

65. Hong Kong Social Action Movements in Boston

66. Hong Kong Student Advocacy Group – NYU

67. Hong Kong Watch

68. Human Rights in China

69. Human Rights Network for Tibet and Taiwan (HRNTT)

70. Humanitarian China

71. Humanosh USA

72. India Tibet Friendship Society NAGPUR

73. Internationale Gesellschaft für Menschenrechte (IGFM)

74. International Tibet Network

75. Khmer Movement for Democracy

76. KONGcentric

77. Lady Liberty Hong Kong (LLHK)

78. Lamp of Liberty

79. Le Comité pour la Liberté à Hong-Kong

80. Liberté au Tibet (France)

81. Lion Rock Café (New York)

82. Manchester Stands With Hong Kong

83. McMaster Stands With Hong Kong

84. New School for Democracy (NSD Taiwan)

85. New Yorkers Supporting Hong Kong (NY4HK)

86. North America Taiwanese Professors’ Association (NATPA)

87. Northern California Hong Kong Club

88. North East Hongkongers Club – U.K.

89. Norwegian Tibet Committee

90. Nottingham Stands With Hong Kong

91. NYC852HKER

92. Ontario Hong Kong Youth Action

93. PMGI [Peace Media & Good Governance Institute]

94. Power to Hongkongers

95. Reading UK Stands with HK

96. Reporters Without Borders (RSF)

97. Santa Barbara Friends of Tibet

98. Scottish Hongkongers

99. SEArious For HKG (Seattle)

100. South Sudan Democratic Alliance (SSDA)

101. Southampton Hongkongers

102. Stand with HK@JPN

103. Students for a Free Tibet International

104. Students for a Free Tibet – Boston

105. Students for a Free Tibet- India

106. Students for a Free Tibet – Japan

107. Students for a Free Tibet – Middletown High School

108. Students for a Free Tibet – Minnesota

109. Students for a Free Tibet – New York/New Jersey

110. Students for a Free Tibet -Toronto

111. Students for Hong Kong

112. Sutton Hong Kong Culture & Art Society

113. Swedish Tibet Committee

114. Swiss Tibetan Friendship Association

115. Taiwan Association for Human Rights

116. Taiwan East Turkestan Association (TETA)

117. Taiwan Forever Association

118. Taiwan Hong Kong Association

119. Taiwan Labour Front

120. Taiwan Youth Association for Transitional Justice and Kiōng-Seng

121. Taiwanese Association In Japan

122. Texans Supporting Hong Kong (TX4HK)

123. Tibet Initiative Deutschland e.V.

124. Tibet Justice Center

125. Tibet Solidarity

126. Tibet Support Group Ireland

127. Tibet Support Committee, Denmark

128. Tibetan Youth Association in Europe (TYAE)

129. Uniting HongKongers (Australia)

130. Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation (UNPO)

131. US Hongkongers Club

132. Uyghur Academy International

133. Uyghur American Association

134. Uyghur Center for Human Rights and Democracy

135. Uyghur Human Rights Project

136. Vancouver Activists of Hong Kong (VAHK)

137. Vancouver Hong Kong Forum Society

138. Vancouver Society in Support of Democratic Movement (VSSDM)

139. Victoria Hongkongers Association (Australia)

140. Washingtonians Supporting Hong Kong (DC4HK)

141. We The Hongkongers

142. Winnipeg Hong Kong Concern

143. World Federation of Taiwanese Associations

144. World Liberty Congress

145. World Uyghur Congress