Those fleeing or entering mainland China sometimes pass through Hong Kong. A new Hong Kong law enacted on August 1 will prevent people from entering or leaving the territory. China routinely employs similar bans on dissidents and foreign citizens, especially those involved in civil cases. It typically traps people inside the country while the case is active.
The U.S. claims it is coercive
The U.S. government previously denounced these kinds of bans as coercive because it forces American citizens to participate in Chinese government investigations. It can mean luring naturalized Americans back to China or punishing them to benefit the case’s Chinese party. CNN reported earlier this year that these kinds of laws pose a risk of detention to foreigners traveling in China, though the country’s foreign ministry denies it.
The law also provides new powers for the city’s immigration director, including banning the airlines from carrying specific passengers even if there are no charges or even a court order. This law is opposed by many human rights and pro-democracy groups, citing it as a substantial scaling back of Hong Kong residents’ rights.
Law could impact businesses and families
The law also has ambiguity about whether citizens or foreigners are inbound or outbound, so foreigners doing business or visiting family could be banned once they leave Hong Kong or engage in activities while abroad.
Those living and working in the United States but planning a trip to China or Hong Kong may have questions about their freedoms and rights. It is always best to consult an expert on these issues before endangering the rights of individuals, citizens or employees who may fall prey to this new law.