China – Hong Kong October 2020-

Written by  //  February 28, 2021  //  China  //  No comments

With new mass detentions, every prominent Hong Kong activist is either in jail or exile
(WaPo) …on Sunday afternoon, the Hong Kong pro-democracy activists fanned out to police stations across the territory, where more than 40 of them were officially charged with “conspiracy to commit subversion” under the national security law, according to police. They were detained immediately, will be held overnight for a court session on Monday and face life in prison if found guilty.
The charging of such a large group represents the harshest and widest use of Beijing’s national security law in Hong Kong to date, dramatically increasing the number of people taken under the draconian legislation. Friends and family fear they will be denied bail and instead remain in detention before trial, like the five previously detained under the law — a significant departure from Hong Kong’s common law system.
The charges mean that every prominent, and even moderate, opposition voice in Hong Kong is either in jail or in exile, crushing the city’s democratic aspirations as Beijing tightens its grips around the city’s core institutions.
… Last week, the Hong Kong government, following a pronouncement from Beijing, further tightened laws to ensure only “patriots” run for office — defined as those loyal to the Communist Party.

30 January
Fearing Beijing crackdown, thousands flee Hong Kong for the U.K.
(AP/CBC) Some are leaving because they fear punishment for supporting pro-democracy protests. But many others, like her, say China’s encroachment on their way of life and civil liberties has become unbearable, and they want to seek a better future for their children abroad. Most say they don’t plan to ever go back….
Applications for the British National Overseas visa officially open Sunday, though many…have already arrived on British soil to get a head start. Eligible Hong Kongers can currently come to the U.K. for six months, but from Sunday they can apply for the right to live and work in the country for five years. After that, they can apply for settled status and then British citizenship.
Britain’s government said some 7,000 people with British National Overseas (BNO) status have arrived since July. It estimates that over 300,000 people will take up the offer of extended residency rights in the next five years.

29 January
Homes as Small as 60 Square Feet Worsen Hong Kong’s Covid Crisis
(Bloomberg) Stuffy, poorly designed and sometimes no bigger than a single bed, the units were a ticking time bomb, according to non-profit organizations like Concerning Grassroots’ Housing Rights Alliance and Kwun Tong Methodist Social Service. That bomb just exploded, sending the city into its first lockdown since Covid was initially detected there in January 2020.
On Jan. 23, the government restricted about 10,000 residents to their homes in the Yau Ma Tei and Jordan areas of Kowloon to carry out mandatory Covid testing. In the first three weeks of the year, 162 infections were confirmed in 56 buildings there — a small number by the standards of many large urban centers, but still 17% of all cases in the city of 7.5 million. Days later, a second lockdown was imposed nearby.

5 January
Mass arrests of former Hong Kong opposition lawmakers, activists for alleged national security law violations
Occupy Central co-founder Benny Tai detained along with former legislators James To, Lam Cheuk-ting, Andrew Wan, Alvin Yeung and Wu Chi-wai
The pan-democratic camp held primary contests last July in five constituencies to determine who would run in the Legislative Council election in September
(SCMP) The “35-plus” strategy, if successful, would have enabled the camp to form a powerful bloc in Legco, allowing them to block budgets, stall bills and effectively paralyse the government.
According to the Democratic Party, the police said during the arrests that the strategy was an act of subversion under the national security law imposed by Beijing in June, half a month before the primaries were held.
Dozens of Hong Kong democracy activists arrested under national security law
(WaPo) Dozens of Hong Kong pro-democracy politicians and activists were arrested Wednesday under the national security law, rounded up in an early morning sweep in the most far-reaching and chilling use of the Beijing-imposed law since it was passed in June.
Hong Kong’s Democratic Party, one of the main opposition parties whose members recently resigned en masse from the legislature over the ouster of their pro-democracy colleagues, said their alleged crime was participation in an informal election in July. The election was a primary for pro-democracy candidates, a contest to determine who would run in legislative elections scheduled for September. More than ­600,000 people took part in the primary, which saw the rise of a younger generation of political leaders, including Joshua Wong, who won in his district. Wong, who is serving a prison sentence, also was charged with the others on Wednesday.

2020

4 December
Beijing slams ‘criminal-shielding’ Danish politicians for supporting former Hong Kong lawmaker’s exile bid
(SCMP) Beijing has accused Danish politicians of harbouring criminals and meddling in China’s domestic affairs by supporting the exile-seeking former Hong Kong opposition lawmaker Ted Hui Chi-fung, a day after he revealed his plan to resettle in Britain.
Pro-establishment legislators back home said on Friday that Hui – who is on bail and faces nine criminal charges in Hong Kong – was evading the legal consequences of his past behaviour, while allies described his decision to flee as a reflection of the dwindling faith in the city’s court
Wanted in Hong Kong, ex-opposition lawmaker Ted Hui makes exile bid overseas, raising prospect of tighter leash on activists awaiting trial back home

2 December
Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong jailed for 13 and a half months over protest
Agnes Chow and Ivan Lam also sentenced over pro-democracy protest at police HQ last year
The high-profile Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong will spend more than a year in jail over an unauthorised protest outside police headquarters in June last year, a court in the city has ruled.
Fellow activists Agnes Chow, 23, and Ivan Lam, 26, were sentenced to 10 months and seven months respectively.
Wong said last week he expected to be jailed after admitting organising the event early on in Hong Kong’s recent protest movement, which began with millions marching against an extradition bill before growing into a broader pro-democracy push.
Hong Kong protests: show arrested youth some mercy, to begin the healing process in society
Simon Young, William Hayward and Paul Yip
Greater discretion by police and prosecutors towards those arrested – whether they are under or over 18 – would represent a significant step to rebuilding trust and harmony
The underlying causes of the protests remain unaddressed, and genuine reconciliation must occur or the unrest might return at any time
(SCMP) The civil behaviour and good order that has characterised Hong Kong for generations seemed to disappear overnight. Road blocks, tear gas and confrontation between demonstrators and police became part of the lifestyle of the city during that period.
There are many concerns in the community about the enactment of the national security law
and its impact on many of Hong Kong’s freedoms. At least some of the violent confrontations have subsided for the moment, but the roots of the problems that led to them have not been addressed. Genuine reconciliation within society needs to occur, otherwise further social unrest might come back at any time.
Since the social unrest began, there have been more than 10,000 arrests, of which around 2,300 have been brought to the court charged with various offences. In court hearings recently, some people have been sentenced to jail while others were acquitted because of insufficient evidence. Sometimes the court found police had not provided reliable evidence

24 November
Allen Carlson: Why Xi Jinping’s muscular approach in Tibet, Xinjiang and Hong Kong will backfire
The clamping down on the rights of those living in China’s periphery is not unprecedented, but the resurgence of these policies may make tensions even more intractable, instead of leading to long-lasting stability

12 November
Hong Kong and China could face fresh US sanctions over ousting of lawmakers
Washington accuses Beijing of ‘flagrant violation’ of commitments and says one party, two systems ideal is ‘now merely a fig leaf’
Hong Kong and Chinese officials could face further sanctions from the United States over a new law that disqualified four pro-democracy legislators as “unpatriotic” and prompted a mass resignation by the pro-democracy caucus.
The measure, passed by China’s highest legislative body on Wednesday, bars anyone from Hong Kong’s legislative council who supports independence, opposes the national security law, refuses to recognise Beijing’s sovereignty over Hong Kong, seeks help from “foreign countries or foreign forces to interfere in the affairs of the region” or commits “other acts that endanger national security”.

12 October
Academics warn of ‘chilling effect’ of Hong Kong security law
Exclusive: global scholars on China call for agreement to resist interference in research
(The Guardian) Some of the world’s leading scholars on China have called for a united international front in defence of university freedoms, amid claims of an increased Chinese threat to academic inquiry since the passing of Hong Kong’s national security law.
Individual universities will be picked off unless there is a common agreement to resist Chinese state interference in academic research and teaching on China, a group of 100 academics including scholars in the US, UK, Australia and Germany say.
They highlight the threat posed by article 38 of the sweeping national security law, which states that the law is applicable to individuals who live outside the territory and individuals who do not come from there.
The law was imposed on Hong Kong by Beijing in June after more than a year of pro-democracy protests.
The academics say article 38 raises the unsettling prospect that students travelling through Hong Kong and China face being handed lengthy prison sentences on the basis of academic work deemed to be subversive by Chinese authorities.

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