Hong Kong authorities have arrested 117 individuals below a nationwide safety legislation imposed one 12 months in the past, charging greater than 60, largely democratic politicians, activists, journalists and college students.
On June 30, 2020, Beijing imposed the safety legislation in Hong Kong following months of often-violent pro-democracy protests, successfully ending the unrest. The legislation punishes acts which China considers as subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with overseas forces with as much as life in jail.
It entered into pressure as quickly because it was printed, simply earlier than midnight forward of the July 1 anniversary of the previous British colony’s return to Chinese language rule in 1997.
Critics of the laws, together with some Western governments and rights teams, say it has been used to crush dissent. Its supporters say it was very important to plug nationwide safety “loopholes” uncovered by the 2019 protests.
In response to questions from Reuters, Hong Kong’s Safety Bureau mentioned the safety legislation has “stopped chaos and restored order,” and that these arrested characterize “a really small variety of the inhabitants,” which it calculated at “about zero.0016%”.
“We wish to emphasise that any legislation enforcement actions …are primarily based on proof, strictly in line with the legislation,” a spokesman for the bureau mentioned.
The actions had “nothing to do with their political stance, background or career,” he mentioned.
Police mentioned the youngest among the many 117 was 15 on the time of the arrest, the oldest 79.
Ten individuals have been arrested on July 1 below the brand new legislation, throughout a protest in opposition to the laws. The trial of Tong Ying-kit, who’s accused of driving a motorcycle in to cops whereas carrying a flag with a protest slogan, began final week after courts denied him bail and a jury, according to the brand new legislation’s provisions.
Tong, the primary particular person arrested below the laws, faces prices of terrorism and inciting secession, in addition to an alternate cost of harmful driving. He pleaded not responsible to all prices.
The largest sweep below the brand new legislation was in January when greater than 50 democratic activists and politicians have been arrested in relation to an unofficial major vote which the opposition organised independently to pick their greatest candidates for a since-postponed election. Authorities say that vote was a “vicious plot” to subvert the federal government.
Of those, 47 have been charged with conspiracy to commit subversion on Feb. 28, and most of them have been denied bail quickly after and stay in detention.
The very best-profile arrest was that of media tycoon and ardent Beijing critic Jimmy Lai in August 2020. Thought to be a “traitor” by Beijing and accused of colluding with overseas forces, Lai was charged months later. He’s in jail serving a number of sentences for unauthorised assemblies associated to the 2019 protests.
This month, 500 cops raided the newsroom of Lai’s now-closed Apple Every day newspaper, arresting 5 executives on suspicion of colluding with a overseas nation.
Two Apple Every day journalists have been arrested for related causes days later.
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