(Bloomberg) -- US companies in Hong Kong want the once-freewheeling city to stop talking about national security even as they face growing geopolitical risks, according to the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong.

Two-thirds of respondents to an annual business sentiment survey said they thought reduced rhetoric from both the US and Hong Kong on the topic of national security would help improve relations, according to the report published Tuesday. Tension in the US-China relationship is seen as the top source of business challenges over the coming 12 months, it said.  

The report comes the same day Chief Executive John Lee kicked off a public consultation for Hong Kong’s national security law. Scrutiny over the crackdown on 2019 pro-democracy protests and sweeping Beijing-imposed legislation that clamped down on dissent and free speech has drawn criticism from some Western governments in recent years. 

Read more: Hong Kong’s Security Law to Expand Definition of State Secrets

Hong Kong’s decision to pass its own expansive national security legislation under Article 23 comes after a move to put bounties of HK$1 million ($127,950) on prominent democracy activists overseas, and will likely attract global attention. 

--With assistance from Danny Lee.

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