Peng’s fears are not unfounded.
As well as allowing China’s security apparatus to set up shop openly in Hong Kong for the first time, Beijing’s security law claims universal jurisdiction.
Article 38 says security crimes can be committed anywhere in the world by people of any nationality.
Hong Kong police have made clear that support for Hong Kong, Taiwan, Tibet or Xinjiang independence is now illegal.
University employee Patrick Wu, 31, said he would now avoid even transiting through Hong Kong.
“It’s like a blanket law, whatever China wants to define and interpret,” he told AFP. “I don’t know if the ‘Likes’ or messages I have left on social media will be prosecutable.”
Last week Chen Ming-tong, the minister for Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council, accused Beijing of aiming to become a supremely powerful “heavenly empire” by ordering “subjects all over the world” to obey its law.
Lin Fei-fan, deputy secretary-general of the ruling DPP, warned that “regular Taiwanese people” might now face arrest in “manufactured cases” if they went to Hong Kong.
He cited China’s jailing of Taiwanese NGO worker Lee Ming-che under the mainland’s own subversion laws.
Lee was arrested in 2017 during a trip to the mainland and held incommunicado for months before his eventual fate was made public.
Sung Chen-en, a political commentator and columnist in Taipei, said Beijing’s new security law “creates a great uncertainty about what can be said” far beyond Hong Kong’s borders.
“If everyone is watching his own expression of opinions, it creates a chilling effect on democracy,” he told AFP.
“If everybody is exercising constraint, there is no freedom at all.”
PICTURES BY SAM YEH/afp