Businesses in the United States are concerned about Internet restrictions in Hong Kong.
The head of the city’s American Chamber of Commerce said Monday that US businesses in Hong Kong are concerned about mainland Chinese internet restrictions and want local authorities to commit to the free flow of information.
Hong Kong has long positioned itself as an international commercial hub, free of Chinese censorship and the so-called “Great Firewall.”
However, as it pushes down on dissent following massive and often violent pro-democracy protests two years ago, Beijing has begun remoulding the city in its own authoritarian image.
Last year, a new security law was enacted that criminalized much criticism and gave authorities a slew of new measures, including the ability to shut down websites.
A proposed privacy law that would make foreign internet companies and their workers criminally accountable for illicit content posted by users is the latest measure to cause concern among business owners.
According to Tara Joseph, president of the local American Chamber of Commerce, the government must address the concerns of the business community.
She told Bloomberg Television that “one of the fundamental qualities of Hong Kong is that you can go onto Google, Facebook, and whatever other platform you want versus what you can do in mainland China.”
“I believe it is critical for the government to recognize this and to be forthright in stating that we will retain the free flow of information.”
The US issued a rare statement on Friday, warning businesses of the “increasing hazards” of operating in Hong Kong as China tightens its grip.
Concerns regarding data privacy, transparency, and access to essential business information, as well as the danger of violating US sanctions on Chinese officials and entities, were raised in the warning.
“It’s unusual for the US government to issue a business advise, so anything like that has jolted anyone who hasn’t seen the changes or the new normal that we’re seeing in Hong Kong,” Joseph added.
She went on to say that businesses in Hong Kong were responding to the city’s legal and political developments.
“However, there are more risks,” she added.
China and Hong Kong’s governments slammed the US recommendation in a flurry of statements over the weekend, dismissing concerns that the city was losing its competitive advantage.
In reaction to the warning and the sanctions on seven additional Chinese officials, the Liaison Office, which represents the central government in Hong Kong, promised that Beijing will strike back with a “head-on blow” to Washington.
According to Joseph, most businesses still consider the city to be a decent area to do business. However, the. Brief News from Washington Newsday.