Australia advises citizens not to travel to Hong Kong due to national security law

The Australian government has advised its citizens not to travel to Hong Kong and reconsider their need to stay in Hong Kong, due to uncertainties surrounding the new national security law there.

“The new national security legislation for Hong Kong could be broadly interpreted. Under the law, he could be deported or face a possible transfer to mainland China for prosecution under mainland law,” according to a notice issued Thursday by Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Smartraveller website.

He added that the full scope of the law and how it will be applied is still unclear and that Australians may be “at increased risk of arrest for vaguely defined national security reasons. It could violate the law without intention.”

Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China. The new law went into effect last Tuesday, after the top decision-making body in the Chinese parliament voted to approve it.

The city has experienced months of pro-democracy demonstrations that have sometimes turned violent. Beijing says Hong Kong’s national security law aims to ban secession, subversion of state power, terrorist activities, and foreign interference.

Opponents of the law, including British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab, say it undermines Hong Kong’s autonomy that was promised when the special administrative region was handed over to China in 1997.

Under the “one country, two systems” policy, the territory has a largely separate legal and economic system from the continent that reflects its British colonial heritage. That framework, known as the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, is supposed to be in force until 2047.

Since March, Australians have been banned from traveling abroad, unless they obtain an exemption due to the coronavirus pandemic.