Javier C. Hernández for The New York Times, ‘Harsh Penalties, Vaguely Defined Crimes: Hong Kong’s Security Law Explained’:
The sweeping new national security law that China imposed on Hong Kong, aimed at stamping out opposition to the ruling Communist Party in the former British colony, is as “devastating” as some critics feared, a human-rights activist said on Wednesday.
Conceived in secrecy and passed on Tuesday without serious input from Hong Kong authorities, the law sets up a vast security apparatus in the territory and gives Beijing broad powers to crack down on a variety of political crimes, including separatism and collusion. […]
The four major offenses in the law — separatism, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign countries — are ambiguously worded and give the authorities extensive power to target activists who criticize the party, activists say.
The law goes beyond IRL, as Paul Mozur at The New York Times explains:
Late Monday, Hong Kong released new rules that give the police powers to take down internet posts and punish internet companies that do not comply with data requests. The new rules explicitly give the authorities the ability to jail employees at internet companies if the firms do not comply with requests for user data. Because the new rules apply across the world, they open up the prospect of tech companies having to choose between releasing data on people writing from places like the United States or face a six-month jail sentence for an employee.
The companies did not say whether they would ultimately decide to cooperate with parts of the law, just that they had temporarily stopped fielding government requests as they decided. What they decide and the ensuing legal challenges from Hong Kong’s government will most likely chart a course for the future of internet freedoms in the city, where the web has not been tightly censored as it has in mainland China. Many fear the law could lead to suffocating new controls like those in China, where Facebook, Twitter and Google are all blocked.
The companies have much to lose. Despite the blocks, Google, Facebook and Twitter have large advertising businesses in the country.
And as Ina Fried at Axios writes, ‘TikTok to pull out of Hong Kong’:
TikTok said Monday night that it would pull its social video platform out of the Google and Apple app stores in Hong Kong amid a restrictive new law that went into effect last week. […]
The move comes as TikTok parent ByteDance has looked to more clearly separate TikTok, which operates outside of China, from a similar app used within mainland China. The company has said that TikTok has not shared data with the Chinese government nor would it, a position that would be difficult — if not impossible — to maintain under the new law.
Well, that’s a not-at-all believable statement.