Internet freedom is one of the driving forces for innovation and social liberty of our time. Since the passage of the National Security Law, internet freedom in Hong Kong has been under sustained assault, with human rights oriented NGOs being blocked and the slow imposition of a China-style “great firewall” being put into place. As we see in China, the restriction of internet freedom is a critical piece in the authoritarian toolbox for preventing social movements, creativity, and innovation.
What we have done
Allies of Hong Kong have been working in Congress to impede and punish this restriction of internet freedom in Hong Kong. The Safeguarding Internet Freedom in Hong Kong Act of 2021 attempts to develop firewall circumvention options for the people of Hong Kong to maintain their connection to the global information economy. Hong Kong Democracy Council has advocated for the inclusion of internet freedom provisions in bipartisan China legislation in a similar way that humanitarian pathways have been pursued. Any attempt to support Hong Kong’s freedom and democracy moving forward should include provisions that address information access for the people of Hong Kong.
What we are doing
Moving forward, our strategy is to pursue stand-alone legislation concerning internet freedom in Hong Kong. We are working to secure more congressional sponsors for the bill, and also to get a version of the bill in both the House and Senate. The restriction of internet freedom in Hong Kong is a major step in making Hong Kong “just another Chinese city,” where residents are restricted from free access to the global body of knowledge — HKDC will continue to work diligently towards passage of legislation that gives material tools to Hong Kong people to evade this process.