Two Hong Kong opposition lawmakers are among 16 people arrested over anti-government protests, as a crackdown on democracy supporters widens. Lam Cheuk-ting and Ted Hui Chi-fung from the Democratic Party were arrested at their homes on Wednesday morning. These latest arrests come two weeks after police arrested media tycoon and vocal Beijing critic Jimmy Lai under a controversial national security law that China recently imposed on Hong Kong.
One of Hong Kong’s most strident pro-democracy figures has been arrested and the newspaper he runs searched by police in a stark escalation by authorities enforcing new national security laws brought in by Beijing. The raid on Apple Daily, Hong Kong’s largest pro-democracy daily paper, and arrest of Jimmy Lai and senior executives, were condemned by activists and journalists, who said they marked “the day press freedom officially died”.
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam on Friday postponed a Sept. 6 election for the city’s legislature for a year because of a spike in novel coronavirus cases, dealing a blow to the pro-democracy opposition hoping to make gains in the vote. The opposition had aimed to ride a wave of resentment of a new national security law, that Beijing imposed on the city on June 30, to win a majority in the Legislative Council.
Hong Kong police have arrested four people aged 16-21 for suspected offenses under the city’s new national security law, the first such detentions outside of street protests since the legislation took effect a month ago. A police spokesman said the three men and a woman, all students, were suspected of being involved in an online group that pledged to use every means to fight for an independent Hong Kong.
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam has warned the city is on the brink of a large-scale outbreak of the coronavirus and urged people to stay indoors as much as possible as strict new measures to curb the disease’s spread take effect on Wednesday. The new regulations ban gatherings of more than two people, close dining in restaurants and make the wearing of face masks mandatory in public places, including outdoors.
President Donald Trump said Tuesday he signed into law a bipartisan bill that sanctions Chinese officials who undermine the rights to free speech and assembly in Hong Kong, the latest escalation in an increasingly hostile relationship between Washington and Beijing. “Hong Kong will now be treated the same as mainland China — no special privileges, no special economic treatment, and no export of sensitive technologies,” Trump said.
TikTok says it will exit Hong Kong, joining other big tech firms in expressing concern about operating in the Asian financial hub after China imposed a controversial national security law there. TikTok’s decision to leave Hong Kong comes as the app tries to distance itself from China and its parent company, and as the US administration openly discusses banning it.
China has said it will take countermeasures against the UK should it grant residency to Hongkongers fleeing a harsh new national security law, promising that the UK would “bear all consequences”. On Thursday, senior Chinese officials said the UK had no right to give residency to Hongkongers in response to Beijing forcing a sweeping anti-sedition law on the territory.
Anyone in Hong Kong found guilty of secession, subversion or terrorism will now be sentenced to life in prison under the controversial new security law passed by China this week. The details emerging about the law, which went into effect Tuesday, come amid fresh concerns in Hong Kong and abroad that it will be used to curb opposition voices in the Asian financial hub.
China’s parliament passed national security legislation for Hong Kong on Tuesday, setting the stage for the most radical changes to the former British colony’s way of life since it returned to Chinese rule 23 years ago. Details of the law – which comes in response to last year’s often-violent pro-democracy protests in the city and aims to tackle subversion, terrorism, separatism and collusion with foreign forces – are due out later on Tuesday.