It didn’t take long for the former police officer in Hong Kong to feel the arrival.
Posted at 6:00 p.m.
Authorities arrested high-profile individuals in the Special Administrative Region (SAR) on Wednesday under the National Security Act, four days after John Lee was appointed chief executive.
Among them were pop singer and Canadian citizen Denise Ho, as well as Cardinal Joseph Zen, one of the most senior Catholic clergy in the area.
The dragonet is linked to their involvement in Humanitarian Fund 612, a humanitarian organization dedicated to supporting victims of the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong.
They were released on bail a few hours later, but the White House and the Vatican strongly condemned the arrests, calling them “unjust” and “worrying”.
The 612 Fund was set up to help those arrested or injured after protests against the 2019 surrender law in a financial metropolis with a population of 7.7 million.
The company has supported nearly 950 legal cases and distributed 243 million Hong Kong dollars (40 million CAN) in various donations, which are said to be demolished in 2021 following pressure from the authorities.
Hong Kong Watch Director Benedict Rogers said in a statement on Wednesday that it was their crime to fund legal aid.
For Mr. Rogers, these arrests send very alarming signals. According to him, Beijing “intends to intensify the repression of liberties and fundamental rights,” according to which they will demonstrate “without any doubt”.
Since Hong Kong’s return to China in 1997, Beijing has gradually tightened its grip on the former British colony, which has been promised “high levels of autonomy” for 50 years.
This security grip seems to have been confirmed with the recent appointment of John Lee as executive head, following a partisan election led by Beijing.
The former police officer, who was considered “abused” by Human Rights Watch, was the boss of the police during demonstrations of the pro-democracy movement, which turned violent in 2019.
Canadian Denise Ho is not in the first issue of Hong Kong justice. The former Brossard resident, who became a Cantonese pop star and LGBT ambassador under the name HOCC, was arrested in December 2021 for making several calls for dissent.
Cardinal Zen, the former bishop of Hong Kong, home to 400,000 Catholics, is known for ignoring his words and tirelessly defending political freedoms and democratic reforms.
In a statement released Wednesday evening, he said: [suivre] Development of the situation with extreme care “.
The dean has always spoken out against any agreement between the Catholic Church and Beijing on the appointment of Chinese bishops, believing it to betray persecuted members of an informal church in China.
The Vatican and China have not had diplomatic relations since 1951, but signed a historic “temporary” agreement with Beijing in September 2018 on the appointment of bishops.
Another member of the movement, educator Hui Po-kyung, was also arrested on Wednesday for “colluding with foreign forces,” punishable by a national security law imposed by Hong Kong on Hong Kong in 2020 in response to previous massive demonstrations. Year.
The suspects, who were released a few hours after their detention, will be arraigned in Hong Kong courts. But Benjamin Fung, a spokesman for the Facebook group Action Free Hong Kong Montreal, has no illusions.
“The Hong Kong government appoints specific judges to the National Security Act and we already know that they are biased. So we can predict the outcome. However, they did nothing illegal.”
Mr Fung suspects the singer, professor and cardinal will be sent to jail, unlike other lesser known dissidents. However, he said their trial stands as an example.
He said it was a formality. Authorities are sending a message that anyone with a known name could be arrested if they violate a security law. This is the message… ”
Agency France-Presse et al Globe and Mail