The human rights violations being committed now under the National Security Law only demonstrate China’s decision to drift further away from compliance with international human rights law. Rather, the NSL’s claim to global jurisdiction signals an increased willingness to engage in counterattacks against critics and to undermine the international human rights system. Amnesty’s departure from Hong Kong will have fall-out far beyond the mere absence of the group on the ground. In the fragile, increasingly imperiled ecosystem of the territory’s civil society, each time a group collapses it adds strain on the groups that remain. Of course, people within Amnesty were aware of this stark reality, and I’m sure made their decision with a heavy heart.


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