Hong Kong police have issued arrest warrants for six pro-democracy activists living in exile, the first time city authorities have used a new law aimed at targeting the countryside living outside Hong Kong. .
These include Samuel Chu, a US citizen living in the United States, Nathan Law, a prominent campaigner who recently moved to the UK after fleeing Hong Kong, and Simon Cheng, a former British asylum worker who was granted asylum in the United States. UK after he allegedly was tortured in China.
Chinese state media reported that the six men were wanted for “incitement to secession and collusion with foreign forces.”;
The move comes a month after China introduced a controversial national security law in Hong Kong. China said the legislation targets crimes of “secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces” and carries out punishments as severe as life in prison.
Critics have warned that it will be used to target legitimate opposition, stressing the unusual decision to make the law applicable to both Hong Kong residents and non-residents. Which apparently gives China jurisdiction beyond its own borders.
Chu, who heads the Hong Kong Democracy Council, a Washington-based advocacy organization dedicated to pursuing Hong Kong’s freedom and democracy, is the first person targeted under this. the law aspect.
He said China is sending a clear message to other activists by ordering his arrest.
“I really stress how effective this is,” Chu told the Guardian. “I am the first non-Chinese citizen to be essentially targeted. I think they intend to try to set an example.”
Several countries have since suspended their extradition treaties with Hong Kong, including the United Kingdom, Australia and Germany, as a possible safeguard against attempts to use national security laws to harmonize the law. activists abroad. The United States ordered an end to Hong Kong’s special economic status in early July.
Chu, who has lived in the United States as a U.S. citizen since 1996, said the charges amount to China “targeting a U.S. citizen for lobbying my own government.”
“We have always known that when national security law came into force there was an irrational and disturbing and illogical idea that they would demand jurisdiction over anyone who is not even a Hong Kong resident, who is anywhere in the world, doing anything. something they are considered threatening, ”he said.
The other activists charged were Ray Wong, Wayne Chan and Honcques Laus.
Wong, who is currently in the UK, told Reuters the accusations show that the Chinese government was afraid of the work of promoting Hong Kong activists internationally.
“I think they want to stop our connection with the people in Hong Kong … it will make people afraid that they might break the national security law by contacting us,” Wong said.