Hong Kong Uses Controversial Law to Arrest Dozens of Protesters
The new security law was introduced in June to handle pro-democracy protests which sometimes turned violent.
Hong Kong arrested dozens of pro-democracy activists and politicians under a controversial new law for allegedly trying to ‘overthrow the government’ on 6 January.
The group, arrested under the new National Security Law, were involved in conducting unofficial ‘primaries’ ahead of the, now postponed, 2020 elections in the country.
China imposed the law on Hong Kong, a semi-autonomous territory, in June 2020, saying that it was a necessity to curb months-long, sometimes violent, pro-democracy protests. These arrests are the largest crackdown on pro-democracy activists since the law was introduced.
The Amnesty International, commenting on the arrests, has called it, "The starkest demonstration yet of how the national security law has been weaponised to punish anyone who dares to challenge the establishment," reported BBC.
Who Were Arrested?
According to the report, the police began a crackdown early in the morning in which 53 people were arrested. 1,000 national security officers were deployed. Police also searched the home of activist Joshua Wong and the office premises of law firm Ho Tse Wai & Partners.
Three news outlets were also asked to hand over information.
Among those arrested are thought to be three members of the Civic Party, seven members of the Democratic Party, 21 opposition district councillors, 13 candidates from the primaries, two academics behind the primaries strategy, and one US citizen and human rights lawyer from the raided law firm, said the report.
"The government will not tolerate subversive acts,” said John Lee, Hong Kong's security secretary, speaking at the city's legislative council.
Reacting to the arrest, Antony Blinken, the pick for the next US Secretary Of State, by President-elect Joe Biden, said, “It is an assault on those bravely advocating for universal rights.”
"The Biden-Harris administration will stand with the people of Hong Kong and against Beijing's crackdown on democracy," said Blinken.
(With inputs from BBC)
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