International businesses in Hong Kong face risks similar to those in mainland China under the Beijing-imposed security law, warned an article co-authored by former lawmaker Dennis Kwok.
The document, titled “Risks to International Business under the Hong Kong National Security Law” and released by the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation earlier this month, also said the law would complicate the settlement of commercial disputes in Hong Kong and abroad. .
“International companies with activities and interests in the PRC [China] and Hong Kong face new risks and challenges as a result of Hong Kong’s national security law, ”the 17-page document reads.
He said business risks included potential complications in civil business disputes, where a party can refuse to disclose evidence on the grounds that it could violate security law.
Citing the law’s claim to extraterritorial jurisdiction, he added that companies can refuse to disclose similar evidence, even in foreign jurisdictions.
Out-of-court enforcement also means companies run the risk of violating security law for content kept on servers overseas, the newspaper said.
The National Security Law, imposed by Beijing in June 2020, criminalizes subversion, secession, collusion with foreign forces, and terrorist acts. Critics say its loosely worded provisions are designed to quash any political dissent, while the government says it restored stability after the sometimes violent protests of 2019.
Kwok, a lawyer by profession, also said foreign executives could be banned from leaving Hong Kong after changes to the immigration ordinance come into force on August 1.
The government denied that the bill would allow authorities to ban people from leaving the city, saying it was necessary to deter the arrival of asylum seekers.
The article was Kwok’s first post since he became an Asian Fellow of Harvard Kennedy School for the upcoming academic year. It was co-authored with Elizabeth Donkervoort, American Bar Association’s Program Director for East Asia.
Kwok left politics in late 2020 after being ousted from the legislature along with three fellow Democrats last November for being “unpatriotic”. He left the city with his family for Canada, where he was born, he confirmed in April.
Last Friday, the US State Department warned of “growing risks” for US companies operating in Hong Kong. In mid-May, a survey by the city’s US business group found that more than 40% of its members were planning to leave the city.
In May, Chief Executive Officer Carrie Lam said the city has always been a good place for business: “We haven’t seen significant capital outflows, the securities markets are doing very well, the banking sector is very. stable and in general, life goes on. . “