The Internet company Google is discontinuing its cooperation with the authorities in Hong Kong because of the controversial security law. According to a Washington Post report, the company said that data requests from the authorities there would no longer be answered directly in the context of criminal prosecutions.
However, the Hong Kong authorities are still open to diplomatic channels: "As always, authorities from outside the US can submit data requests for criminal investigations through diplomatic channels," said Google.
With its decision, Google no longer treats Hong Kong differently from the rest of China. The authorities in the former British Crown Colony must in future apply for legal aid at the state level. That goes through the US Department of Justice.
The police in the financial metropolis had cracked down on democracy activists earlier this week - among other things, the well-known media entrepreneur Jimmy Lai had been arrested, but he was released on bail. The arrests are based on the security law enforced by the Chinese government in June. It is considered a cut in the city's autonomy, which it was promised for at least 50 years when it was handed over to China in 1997 according to the principle of "one country - two systems". The law provides life imprisonment as the maximum sentence for many offenses that the Chinese authorities consider subversion, secession and terrorism.
Google has good relations with China
The USA had clearly criticized the new security law. Only last week were sanctions imposed on Hong Kong Prime Minister Carrie Lam and ten government officials for postponing parliamentary elections there.
Unlike mainland China, Google is available in Hong Kong. As the Washington Post writes, however, by discontinuing cooperation with the authorities, Google seems to recognize the great influence of Beijing that has arisen in Hong Kong through the new security law. According to the report, Google has good relations with China. The company runs an artificial intelligence office there.