Hundreds of thousands of Hong Kongers took the the streets to protest against a controversial extradition bill. Hong Kong. 31 August 2019. Editorial credit: Lewis Tse Pui Lung /

Hong Kong*

The people of Hong Kong, a special administrative region of China, traditionally enjoyed substantial civil liberties and the rule of law under their local constitution, the Basic Law. However, the implementation of the National Security Law (NSL) in 2020 has amounted a multifront attack on the “one country, two systems” framework. The territory’s most prominent prodemocracy figures have been arrested under its provisions, and NSL charges or the threat of charges have resulted in the closure of political parties, major independent news outlets, peaceful nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and unions. The NSL also paved the way for Beijing to overhaul Hong Kong’s electoral system in 2021; the new rules permit mainland authorities to vet candidates and contain other provisions that ultimately ensure Beijing near-total control over the selection of Hong Kong authorities. The first chief executive to be selected under the new rules took office in 2022.

Iranian people in Izmir protest the death of Mahsa Amini by the morality police in Iran.

Freedom in the World — Hong Kong Report

Hong Kong is rated Partly Free in Freedom in the World 2023, Freedom House's annual study of political rights and civil liberties worldwide.

Hong Kong Media Bulletin

Sign up for the Hong Kong Media Bulletin

The Hong Kong Bulletin is a monthly email newsletter that provides unique insight into media freedom and freedom of expression issues in Hong Kong, drawing on both English and Chinese-language sources.

Each month, the newsletter features cutting edge analysis of the latest trends in Hong Kong as the territory is being vastly transformed by the Beijing-imposed National Security Law, highlighting the following topics: 

  • Analysis on monthly trends
  • Short news updates on traditional media, internet freedom, and academic freedom
  • Tracking what to watch for as the crackdown deepens
  • Spotlight on initiatives by Hong Kongers, exiles and supporters globally, and the international community
hong kong anti extradition protests

Countries in the Spotlight

Freedom in the World's Countries in the Spotlight features countries that experienced important developments in 2019 that affected their democratic trajectory, and deserve special scrutiny in 2020. In Hong Kong, sustained demonstrations against meddling by Beijing were met with police violence, but undeterred voters expressed overwhelming support for prodemocracy candidates in local elections. View the full Freedom in the World report to learn about the other Countries in the Spotlight.

Protesters demonstrate in the district of Yuen Long in Hong Kong on July 27, 2019. Photo Credit: ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP via Getty Images.

Recommendations for Policymakers: Democratic Crisis in Hong Kong

The United States and other democracies must take strong, immediate action to stand with the people of Hong Kong in their defense of democratic values.

* Indicates a territory as opposed to an independent country.