Four students have been reportedly arrested in Hong Kong in the first police operation to enforce China’s new law on “national security,” officials said Wednesday. Earlier arrests were made under the new law for banners and slogans displayed during the protests.
“Three men and one woman, aged 16-21, who claimed to be students, were arrested for violating #nationalsecuritylaw. They were suspected of secession in favor of #HKindependence. The investigation is ongoing,” the Hong Kong police tweeted.
A prominent pro-democracy activist7;s nationalism.” said one of those arrested was Tony Chung, a student activist, and that he was detained after he wrote a post on Facebook about “China̵
“Arrestee’s mobile phones have been hacked by unknown #Huawei and #Samsung phones shortly after their arrests. Tonight’s arrest will clearly send a chilling effect on online speech # HK, ”Wong tweeted.
Silence of dissent
The new China, which was secretly written in Beijing and entered into force in Hong Kong on July 1, bans a variety of vaguely defined crimes such as “sedition” that could carry life sentences in prison. Critics accuse Beijing of using it to crush the former semi-autonomous city of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement, with reports of people censoring and removing past social media posts for fear of prosecution.
“People are still fighting on the ground. They still resist, but they also feel a sense of terror,” said prominent Hong Kong politician and activist Nathan Law, who fled Hong Kong to the United Kingdom shortly after the the new “national security” law. in place, he told CBS News.
Law became a household name in semi-autonomous Chinese territory as a student leader during major pro-democracy protests in 2014 and the emerging nominee for the peace prize. He eventually founded the pro-democracy political party Demosisto, along with Wong. The party was set up shortly after the new “national security” legislation came into force.
“When we realized that the law was so draconian that we can’t even speak for Hong Kong, which also criticizes freedom of expression – it really kills it – so for my consideration, I think we really needed someone to be out and to I speak for Hong Kong. So I decided to take on that role, “Law said.
“Leaving Hong Kong leaves behind a lot of connections: your family, your friends, the cat you saved on the road. But it really gives you the opportunity to take on a huge responsibility to speak for the people of Hong Kong, he said.
“Hong Kong is definitely a very symbolic place”
The arrests come amid reports that the next elections to the Hong Kong Legislative Council, or LegCo, currently scheduled for September, could be postponed due to. On Tuesday the United States and Australia issued a joint statement reiterating their support for “the people of Hong Kong to be able to elect the representatives of the Legislative Council through a genuinely free and fair election, which is credible and peaceful, on 6 September. “
“Beijing certainly wants to postpone the election because it is under pressure that a democratic candidate will do very well,” the law said, adding that no Hong Kong-elected officials have been consulted on the reported concerns about public health. “They’re trying to postpone it for a year, which is an extremely long period, and unjustifiable,” he said.
Law said he hoped that, from the relative security of a country outside of China, he could build up the international pressure needed to help check Beijing’s further confrontation over Hong Kong’s freedoms.
“I think we need a value-based community around the world that can act multilaterally, assertively and collectively towards China … We should boost more allies like Europe, Japan and Korea South – these Asian democracies – to be in the field for Beijing’s authoritarian expansion, “the law said.
“I think addressing the issues in Hong Kong is just a reflection of how to find that authoritarian expansion, and Hong Kong is definitely a very symbolic place to implement those policies in order to hold China accountable,” he said. .