We’re All Hong Kongers Now

We’re All Hong Kongers Now

As this assault on basic freedoms in Hong Kong unfolded, many activists for democracy in that community like myself, and an uncountable many other Americans, have watched from afar — and have shown solidarity through our smartphones and Twitter. But now, as my experience shows, you don’t have to be in Hong Kong to get yourself in trouble. Your next retweet could earn you a prison sentence. Article 38, as presented to the world, can seem outlandish in its claim to have the right and capacity to reach across the globe and arrest critics anywhere. Might Hong Kong agents be deployed on Capitol Hill to arrest members of Congress who voted last November for the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act? Could they arrest the American president and other officials who, in support of Hong Kong, imposed sanctions on the Chinese Communist Party for its encroachment and suppression there? If Article 38 is read literally, that’s the threat. How ludicrous. But that doesn’t make the crackdown harmless. For example, I fear that I can no longer travel to Hong Kong, or to any countries with active extradition treaties with the Hong Kong administrative government or with China, without risking arrest and extradition. I cannot speak to my elderly parents in Hong Kong without opening them to investigations and invasive searches by the police. I won’t be the only person sought by China for punishment of some sort. And if I can be targeted, any citizen of any nation who speaks out ...
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