The head of a human rights group that monitors Christian persecution worldwide has expressed concern over new security legislation the People's Republic of China over the semi-autonomous region of Hong Kong.
China this week passed "national security" legislation aimed at cracking down on sedition and other subversive acts against the Communist government in Beijing.
It also allows for Chinese state security agencies to operate in the city, drawing concerns that Hong Kong will experience a loss of the autonomy and civil liberties that have existed since 1997.
David Curry, CEO of Open Doors USA says he saw "the strong influence of China on media censorship" when he travelled to the city last year.
"That paired with strong military presence raises my concerns that the people of Hong Kong are losing the independence they have previously known," Curry told The Christian Post.
Regarding the most recent steps taken by Beijing, Curry told CP that he found the new measures troubling, both for the general population and the city's Christian community.
"It's concerning, when you consider how much surveillance and pressure is being put on the church of China, to see Hong Kong Christians facing these same restrictions," said Curry.
"We are very concerned by China's restrictions on religious liberty and human rights. I believe that China is rapidly developing, implementing and exporting a blueprint of persecution that will drive further restrictions on the free practice of faith throughout the region and even the world."
Curry believes the moves taken by China toward Hong Kong are likely part of a plan "to exert control over the entire region if the western world doesn't speak up on behalf of the citizens of Hong Kong."
"It's possible that in just a short time there will be no true freedom of religion in regions controlled by China," he added.
In response to the new law, Hong Kong has found itself experiencing clashes between protesters and police, echoing the months-long political and human rights demonstrations from the last year.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday that he considered the new measures by Beijing as proof that the region has lost the autonomy that was not scheduled to expire until 2047.
"No reasonable person can assert today that Hong Kong maintains a high degree of autonomy from China, given facts on the ground," said Pompeo.
"[The new security law is] only the latest in a series of actions that fundamentally undermine Hong Kong's autonomy and freedoms."
Courtesy of The Christian Post