National Security Law Threatens Professional Ethics

The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress forcibly implemented the National Security Law, which has triggered the worries in Hong Kong society. The senior government officials have repeatedly emphasized that the legislation is only ‘targeting a small group of people’ and has no effect on the lives of the general public, it is hardly convincing. Many people with different professional backgrounds said that the National Security Law affects their performance of work duties and even damages their professional ethics.

The shaken financial centre

Hong Kong's status as an Asian financial centre is based on the free flow of information and an independent judicial system in Hong Kong, which is different from mainland cities. Now that the firewall has been torn down, the financial system in Hong Kong is also in jeopardy. Kwok Ka Wing, chairman of the Hong Kong Financial Employees General Union, said that in the future, if state-owned enterprises come to Hong Kong for listing and if they are faced with criticism which involves sensitive information, will the commentator be accused of violating the national security law? The implementation of the National Security Law will definitely damage the freedom and circulation of information and threaten the stability of the market.

Kwok Ka Wing noticed that in the short time since the implementation of the National Security Law, it has triggered a large outflow of funds from the market. According to sources, among the large accounts with deposits of more than US$1 million, 70% of the outflow has been used as a hedge.

IT industry at high risk to step on landmines

The professionals in the information technology industry are also at high risk of crossing the lines. Alex Deng, chairman of the Hong Kong Information Technology Workers’ Union, said that Hong Kong IT professionals often cooperate with multinational Internet companies (Google, Facebook, etc.), and these companies also have the opportunity to undertake projects from various governments and even cooperate with the armed forces. Deng remarked, ‘Our business cooperation with this company will definitely involve a lot of data exchanges, will it suddenly become “collusion with foreign forces”?’

Deng also pointed out that many high-tech products that were formally forbidden to be imported into China could be imported into Hong Kong. However, as the United States abolished Hong Kong’s preferential status, and Hong Kong has also become a prohibited region for export. Therefore, the job opportunities and the development of the industry is bound to be struck.

Education professional ethics challenged

With the implementation of the National Security Law in Hong Kong, the education sector will definitely become one of the targets of political score-settling. As of May this year, nearly 192 teachers have been filed a complaint about professional misconduct owing to participation in social incidents, and some of them have received warning letters and contract termination notices. For example, Tin Fong Chak, the vice president of the Hong Kong Educational Professionals Association, said, ‘If there are students suddenly shouted in the classroom: "Hong Kong independence!", should the teachers call the police?’ Tin believes that the National Security Law not only suppresses political discussions but also makes teachers at a loose end when dealing with the relationship with students.

Earlier on, in a ‘Life and Society’ course in a secondary school in Form Three, the teacher received complaints when he gave the students an exercise question ‘On the benefits of “stalling the legislation meeting(lai bou)”’. Tian Fong Chak pointed out that if the government believes that ‘stalling the legislation meeting’ is an act of paralyzing the government and subverting state power, discussing this issue may step on the red line in the future.

The National Security Law affects all walks of life. In addition to severely hitting Hong Kong’s human rights, freedom and judicial independence, it will also gradually erode the professional and professional ethics of employees. ‘If you do not seek for politics, politics will come to your door’, Even if you are not a member of the political sector or a social activist, you are not immune. In the face of the new political challenges brought about by the National Security Law, in addition to continuing to strive for improved treatment in the future, the trade union movement must also be prepared to protect its professional value and professional autonomy and resist totalitarian intervention.