Pompeo: China’s crackdown on Hong Kong ‘Orwellian’

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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday criticized China’s new Hong Kong national security law that considerably restricts the freedoms once guaranteed to the semi-autonomous state.

“The Chinese Communist Party’s [CCP] destruction of free Hong Kong continues,” Pompeo said in a statement. “With the ink barely dry on the repressive National Security Law, local authorities — in an Orwellian move — have now established a central government national security office, started removing books critical of the CCP from library shelves, banned political slogans, and are now requiring schools to enforce censorship.”

The new law went into effect on June 30, and since its implementation hundreds of Hong Kong residents have been arrested, according to The Associated Press.

Under the law, social media platforms and internet providers can be asked by Hong Kong’s government to remove any posts that are “likely to constitute an offense endangering national security or is likely to cause the occurrence of an offense endangering national security.”

The government can also ask individual residents to remove personal social media posts deemed to violate the law.

Failure to do so in both instances can lead to jail time, the AP reports.

Major social media platforms are still allowed in Hong Kong — unlike in mainland China — but industry giants have said that they are still assessing the new law. Popular video app TikTok, which is owned by Chinese internet company ByteDance, announced that it would be ending its operations in the city “in light of recent events.”

Google, Twitter, Facebook and its messaging platform WhatsApp have said that they are halting reviews of government requests for user data in Hong Kong.

Tags China Facebook Google Hong Kong Mike Pompeo national security law Protest Social media State Deparment tiktok Twitter U.S. WhatsApp

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