Dozens of Hong Kong pro-democracy figures, including U.S. lawyer, arrested

HONG KONG — In a sweeping crackdown on opposition, police in Hong Kong on Wednesday arrested greater than 50 pro-democracy figures for allegedly violating the stringent new nationwide safety legislation, consistent with political events and native media.

The ones arrested on suspicion of subversion integrated U.S. citizen John Clancey, an lawyer and human rights suggest on the Ho Tse Wai & Companions legislation company in Hong Kong and in addition chair of the Asian Human Rights Fee, a Hong Kong-based team that campaigns for higher human rights around the area.

A supply shut the company showed that he have been arrested and saved in police custody Wednesday.In a video printed through the AFP information company, Clancey is requested to react to his arrest and says, “Proceed to paintings for democracy and human rights in Hong Kong.”

Winners of the unofficial democratic primaries pose on the finish of a press convention in Hong Kong on July 15, 2020.Anthony Wallace / AFP – Getty Pictures document

U.S. officers weren’t straight away to be had for touch upon Clancey’s arrest.

Hua Chunying, spokeswoman for China’s International Ministry, stated Beijing subsidized the arrests. She additionally stated that folks’s rights and freedoms weren’t affected.

John Lee, Hong Kong’s safety minister, advised a information convention Wednesday that the operation “goals the energetic components who’re suspected to be concerned within the crime of overthrowing, or interfering (and) significantly break the Hong Kong govt’s criminal execution of tasks.”

Senior superintendent Steve Li from the nationwide safety unit advised a information convention that 53 folks — 45 males and 8 ladies elderly between 23 to 64 — had been arrested in an operation that concerned 1,000 officials.

Anthony Blinken, President-elect Joe Biden’s secretary of state nominee, stated on Twitter that the brand new management would “stand with the folk of Hong Kong and towards Beijing’s crackdown on democracy.”

The mass arrests had been for allegedly violating the nationwide safety legislation and mark essentially the most important transfer towards Hong Kong’s democracy motion because the legislation used to be imposed through Beijing within the semi-autonomous territory in June remaining 12 months.

A minimum of seven contributors of Hong Kong’s Democratic Birthday celebration — town’s biggest opposition celebration — had been arrested, together with former celebration chairman Wu Chi-wai. Former lawmakers Helena Wong, Lam Cheuk-ting, and James To had been additionally arrested, consistent with a submit at the celebration’s Fb web page.

The celebration additionally stated that the arrests had been made on suspicion of “subverting state energy.”

Benny Tai, a key determine in Hong Kong’s 2014 Occupy Central protests and a former legislation professor, used to be additionally arrested through the police, consistent with native media experiences. Tai used to be probably the most major organizers of the primaries.

Following the handover of Hong Kong to China through the British in 1997, the semi-autonomous Chinese language town has operated on a “one nation, two techniques” framework that presents it freedoms now not discovered at the mainland. In recent times, Beijing has asserted extra regulate over town, drawing grievance that Hong Kong’s freedoms had been below assault.

Maya Wang, a senior China researcher for Human Rights Watch, stated the transfer had got rid of “the rest veneer of democracy within the town.”

The house of Joshua Wong, a distinguished pro-democracy activist who’s serving a 13-and-a-half-month jail sentence for organizing and collaborating in an unauthorized protest remaining 12 months, used to be additionally raided, consistent with a tweet posted from Wong’s account.

In step with tallies according to native experiences, the entire pro-democracy applicants who had participated within the unofficial primaries had been arrested.

Hong Kong has already jailed a number of pro-democracy activists, together with Wong and Agnes Chow, for his or her involvement in antigovernment protests, and others were charged below the nationwide safety legislation together with media mogul and outspoken pro-democracy activist Jimmy Lai.

In 2019, masses of hundreds of folks from around the social and demographic spectrum marched within the streets to call for exchange.

The safety legislation criminalizes acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with international powers to interfere within the town’s affairs. Severe offenders may just face up a most punishment of lifestyles imprisonment.

Professional-democracy activists and lawmakers had remaining July held an unofficial number one election to determine which applicants they must box in a now-postponed legislative election that may spice up their possibilities of gaining a majority of seats in legislature. Gaining a majority would permit the pro-democracy camp to vote towards expenses they deemed to be pro-Beijing, block budgets and paralyze the federal government.

In November, all of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy lawmakers resigned en masse after Beijing handed a solution that ended in the disqualification of 4 of its camp, leaving a in large part pro-Beijing legislature.

The Related Press contributed to this document

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