World

Will HSBC protect its pro-democracy staff in Hong Kong?

8 August 2020

5:00 PM

8 August 2020

5:00 PM

Noel Quinn, the chief executive of HSBC, declines to say whether his bank will disown pro-democracy staff who fall foul of China’s draconian new security law for Hong Kong. The bank, he says, follows the law of every country in which it operates: it will treat the issue case by case.

What he may not have digested is that the new security law claims universal jurisdiction. Any Hong Kong person making secessionist, terrorist, seditious etc statements (as defined by China) anywhere in the world commits a crime, just as if he makes similar statements from Victoria Peak, Hong Kong. If I were a pro-democracy Hong Kong citizen working at HSBC’s headquarters in London, I would ask Mr Quinn whether he will protect me when the Chinese authorities drop in to demand my extradition.

This article is an extract from Charles Moore’s Spectator Notes, available in this week’s magazine.

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