(Hong Kong) More than 50 pro-democracy opposition figures were arrested in Hong Kong on Wednesday in connection with the latest crackdown on critics in Beijing under the recent National Security Act. This is the name of a serious text.
In 2020, Chinese authorities occupied the former British colony, the year before it had been the site of an unprecedented public mobilization since it had been handed over in 1997.
These arrests, many of which are linked to primaries carried out by the opposition last summer, are a further example of this.
Two high-level factions in the police have reported “about 50” arrests by the unit responsible for investigating crimes under anonymity and security law.
According to figures from opposition parties and celebrities on Facebook and Twitter, at least 48 people have been arrested, most of them for “repression.”
This morning the repression was quickly condemned by Anthony Blinken, the man chosen by US President-elect Joe Biden to lead his diplomacy, and the “attack on those who courageously defend universal rights.”
“The Biden-Harris administration stands with the people of Hong Kong, as well as against the oppression of Beijing’s democracy,” he assured.
Extinguish the flame of resistance
Whether it’s former MPs or young activists like James Too, Andrew Vaughan, Lam Chewing Ting or Claudia Mo, the pro-democracy movement targeted on Wednesday is far-reaching.
The latter include former journalist Gwyneth Ho with 30 years of activism and 27-year-old district councilor Tiffany Yuen.
Joshua Wang, one of the most famous faces in the pro-democracy movement currently in prison, said relatives searched his home on his Facebook account.
Police are searching for a law firm involved in the protection of human rights. John Clancy, an American lawyer working for the company, was arrested, and we learned of this from known sources. He was the first American to be arrested on behalf of the new law.
The police operation also targeted the media. Three Press Groups – Newsstand, Apple Daily And Inmediac – said they were visited by police.
“This is a real night of long swords, the biggest attack on democracy in Hong Kong so far,” protested Anthony Dapiran, a lawyer and author of a book on social movements in Hong Kong.
Nathan La, a fellow traveler of Joshua Wang who went into exile in July, accused authorities of trying to “extinguish the flames of resistance.”
Hong Kong police have not made an official comment.
However, pro-democracy figures suggest that the arrests are linked to primaries held by the opposition ahead of the legislative elections in July.
The election, scheduled for September 2020, is, by this time, intended by the opposition to take advantage of the popularity of the 2019 mobilization, which the government has postponed for a year on the pretext of contagion.
The goal of the primaries, which involved more than 600,000 Hong Kongers, is to prevent the scattering of opposition votes and to nominate 35 candidates vying for seats in the allotted legislative (lego, local parliament) seats. By universal suffrage. The rest are given according to the winding system, which guarantees a majority to the pro-Beijing alliance.
Opposition parties have stated they will not run in the by-elections, but will use 35 seats to secure a majority in the Hong Kong executive alliance with Beijing.
China called the primaries “serious provocations” and campaigned to bring control over parliament, citing “repression” under the National Security Act, which came into force a few weeks ago.
The text, imposed without discussion by Beijing, is a response to the 2019 political crisis, with Hong Kong set to stage demonstrations against Chinese intervention for months.
Critics of the law present it as the last nail in the coffin of Hong Kong’s semi – autonomy, theoretically guaranteed until 2047 by the principle of “one nation, two systems”.
Very vague in its words, the text attacks four types of crime: separatism, repression, terrorism and conspiracy with foreign powers. It provides life imprisonment.
Officials initially assured that the law would only target the “extreme minority”. But it was used to stifle dissent and criminalize certain political views.