Scholars urge 'united front' against HK security law - RTHK
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Scholars urge 'united front' against HK security law

2020-10-13 HKT 15:28
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  • Scholars from local and international tertiary institutions, including the University of Hong Kong, are calling for a 'united front' against the national security law. Image: Shutterstock
    Scholars from local and international tertiary institutions, including the University of Hong Kong, are calling for a 'united front' against the national security law. Image: Shutterstock
Stephen Chan speaks to RTHK's Richard Pyne
More than 100 scholars from universities in Hong Kong and around the world have issued a joint statement condemning the SAR's national security law and calling for joint action against "the overreach of China’s censorship regime".

Signatories to the declaration come from 71 institutions in 16 countries, including the universities of Oxford, Cambridge and Stanford.

Among them are local scholars Stephen Chan and James Rice from Lingnan University, Daniel Garrett from City University, and Harry Wu, an assistant professor at the University of Hong Kong.

They say the new security law will compromise academic autonomy, as it makes it an offence for anyone, anywhere, to criticise or make "subversive statements" against the Chinese Communist Party.

The scholars also warned that the universal jurisdiction claimed by Article 38 of the national security law "raises the unsettling prospect of students travelling through Hong Kong and China facing the possibility of being handed lengthy prison sentences on the basis of academic work deemed to be ‘subversive’ by Chinese authorities".

"Because of the vagueness and a lot of grey areas of this law and the lack of transparency in the institution itself, I think there's a great risk... in research and publication that concerns individual faculty members, as well as all our research projects going on, especially in the area of humanities and the social sciences which touch on topics relating to Hong Kong or to China," Chan told RTHK's Richard Pyne.

The scholars called for members of parliament and senior government officials to act as well – by telling Beijing that the security law is unacceptable, as well as updating their own legislation to ensure university environments which enable the full exercise of academic freedom.