A motorway running between commercial buildings between the Admiralty and Wanchai areas of Hong Kong Island, and a view of Kowloon (back left) across from Victoria Harbour, in Hong Kong. (Photo: AFP)
Amnesty International said today it will shutter its offices in Hong Kong because of the threat posed to staff by a national security law that Beijing imposed on the city.
The decision ends more than four decades of the international human rights group maintaining a presence in Hong Kong and comes as officials remould the city in mainland China's authoritarian image.
China imposed a national security law in June last year in response to massive and often violent democracy protests, a move that has transformed Hong Kong's political, cultural and legal landscape and introduced mainland-style political speech curbs.
Anjhula Mya Singh Bais, chair of Amnesty's board, said the decision to close had been made "with a heavy heart" and was "driven by Hong Kong's national security law".
"[It] has made it effectively impossible for human rights organizations in Hong Kong to work freely and without fear of serious reprisals from the government," she added.
Amnesty maintains two offices in Hong Kong. The first is a local branch that focuses on human rights and campaigns in the city. The second is a regional office that carries out research and advocacy work across East and Southeast Asia and the Pacific.
Amnesty said its local office would close on Oct. 31 while the regional office would move out "by the end of 2021."
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