Hong Kong government condemns overseas activists attempting to set up ‘Hong Kong Parliament’ in exile

The city’s Security Bureau issued a statement on Wednesday to severely condemn three Hong Kong activists, who are now living overseas, over their attempt to form a so-called “Hong Kong Parliament”, saying they are suspected of contravening the National Security Law.

The three targeted overseas-based Hongkongers are ex-lawmaker-elect Baggio Leung, who is currently in exile in the US, industrialist and political commentator Elmer Yuen, and Victor Ho, the former editor-in-chief of the Vancouver edition of Sing Tao Daily. All three are members of the parliament’s electoral organizing committee.

The bureau’s warning comes after the committee, which is registered in Toronto, announced last week that they will be making intensive preparations for the election of their parliament, so that “Hongkongers at home and abroad can use the ballots in their hands to vote in a democratically elected parliament that truly represents the people of Hong Kong”.

They aim to hold their first election in late 2023.

The bureau said in the statement that the trio and others are suspected of contravening the offence of subversion under Article 22 of the National Security Law.

“On the basis of Article 37 of the National Security Law, [the police] shall spare no efforts in pursuing the cases in accordance with the law in order to bring the offenders to justice,” it added.

The bureau also appealed to the public to “dissociate themselves from individuals contravening the Hong Kong National Security Law, and the illegal activities those individuals organized, so as to avoid bearing any unnecessary legal risks”.

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In the aftermath of massive protests that shook the city in 2019 and 2020, Beijing imposed the National Security Law, which gives the police the power to arrest people for secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with foreign forces. 

While authorities say the law is necessary to safeguard national security, many feel it has led to the erosion of essential freedoms. 

Authorities have also said the law has extraterritorial effect and could be used to target those living outside of China.