- A man was arrested for holding a Hong Kong independence flag during demonstrations against a new Chinese law, according to police.
- The National Security Law criminalizes secessionist activities in Hong Kong and gives China’s central government sweeping powers in enforcing the law, The Wall Street Journal reported.
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke at a U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs hearing Wednesday strongly condemning the new law.
A protester was arrested for holding a Hong Kong independence flag during pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong Wednesday, according to police.
The man was arrested for violating the newly passed National Security Law, the Hong Kong Police Force announced on Twitter. The law, which was unanimously passed Tuesday by the Chinese government, criminalizes secessionist, subversive and terrorist activities in Hong Kong, The Wall Street Journal reported.
#BREAKING: A man was arrested for holding a #HKIndependence flag in #CausewayBay, Hong Kong, violating the #NationalSecurityLaw. This is the first arrest made since the law has come into force. pic.twitter.com/C0ezm3SGDm
— Hong Kong Police Force (@hkpoliceforce) July 1, 2020
Police held signs during the protests announcing that Chinese authorities had the right to arrest anyone, including non-citizens, for violating the security law, according to pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong.
“We shall never surrender. Now is not the time to give up,” Wong tweeted Wednesday.
We are on street to against national security law. We shall never surrender. Now is not the time to give up. pic.twitter.com/E1mDMvtycc
— Joshua Wong 黃之鋒 ???? (@joshuawongcf) July 1, 2020
The law enables the Chinese government to supervise and intervene in the policing of alleged subversive activities in Hong Kong, according to The Wall Street Journal. The legislature, not the courts, determines the interpretation of the law. (RELATED: Hong Kong Passes Law Criminalizing ‘Disrespect’ For Chinese National Anthem)
Ten people were arrested for breaking the new law during demonstrations in Hong Kong Wednesday, said former member of Hong Kong’s legislative council Lee Cheuk Yan at a U.S. House Committee of Foreign Affairs hearing Wednesday. More than 300 people were arrested in total Wednesday, he added.
“It’s not only about really getting people in jail, but also creating a ‘white terror’ among the crowd to remind us that our rights are all being deprived,” Hong Konger and University of Washington political science Ph.D. student Brian Leung said at the House hearing.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi made an appearance at Wednesday’s hearing, despite not being a member of the committee, condemning the security law.
“The law is a brutal, sweeping crackdown against the people of Hong Kong, intended to destroy the freedoms they were promised,” Pelosi said. “Beijing’s so-called National Security Law signals the death of the one country, two systems principal.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo slammed the security law Tuesday. He said the world cannot ignore the Chinese government’s encroachment on Hong Kong autonomy.
“The Chinese Communist Party’s decision to impose draconian national security legislation on Hong Kong destroys the territory’s autonomy and one of China’s greatest achievements,” Pompeo said in a statement. “The United States will not stand idly by while China swallows Hong Kong into its authoritarian maw.”
Meanwhile, the U.K. changed its immigration rules Wednesday, giving millions of Hong Kong citizens a path to British citizenship, the BBC reported.
“[The National Security Law] violates Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy and threatens the freedoms and rights protected by the joint declaration,” British prime minister Boris Johnson said of the law, according to the BBC.
Tensions in Hong Kong ramped up last year after Beijing passed an extradition law enabling the government to extradite Hong Kong residents to mainland China. In response to the bill, hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong citizens participated in mass protests, which were some of the largest in Hong Kong history, according to The New York Times.
Wednesday marked the 23rd anniversary of the U.K. handing the territory over to China.
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