Over 300 Hong Kongers Arrested under New Security Law

Cheryl Sanders
July 2, 2020

Chinese officials have defended the law as an important measure to curtail anti-government protests in Hong Kong like those that sprung up in June 2019.

The new security law deepened concerns in Hong Kong and overseas about the future of the semi-autonomous territory.

Seven officers were injured in the day's operations and taken to hospital, the police said. "It violates Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy and is in direct conflict with Hong Kong Basic Law", he told MPs in Parliament.

Details released by police Wednesday accused those arrested under the new legislation of possessing independence flags, stickers and flyers.

Crowds spilling out into the streets chanted "resist till the end" and "Hong Kong independence".

"What this authoritarian regime wants to do is to terrorise the people and stop them from coming out", Chris To, a 49-year-old protester, told AFP. They fear its four areas of criminal activity are so ill-defined that the law could be used as an excuse to round up anyone critical of the Chinese government.

Hong Kong police have arrested more than 300 people -- including nine under China's new national security law -- as thousands defied a ban on protests on the anniversary of the city's handover to China.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said Britain had carefully assessed China's national security legislation since it was published late on Tuesday.

"In fact, people in Hong Kong will be able to live in a safer environment under the protection of the national security laws".

Congress has also moved to impose sanctions on people deemed connected to political repression in Hong Kong, including police officials, while Britain has said it could offer residency and possible citizenship to about 3 million of Hong Kong's 7.5 million people.

Zhao reiterated in a statement that China is "firmly determined to implement "One Country, Two Systems" and oppose foreign interference in Hong Kong affairs".

Citing coronavirus restrictions, city authorities prohibited the annual protest that was arranged by the Civil Human Rights Front, the organizer of last year's massive rallies.

Critics fear the law is a significant power grab on behalf of Beijing that will severely curtail the political freedoms of Hong Kong citizens.

The new law was promulgated, marking the first time a Chinese law carrying criminal penalties was introduced without a legislative process, according to Human Rights Watch.

One year ago, protesters commemorated the anniversary of Britain's handover of Hong Kong to China by storming the city's legislature and spray-painting on its walls: "Hong Kong is not China". The protests that erupted past year were over a bill that would have allowed extraditions to China.

Hong Kong's autonomy was guaranteed under the "one country, two systems" agreement enshrined in the Sino-British Joint Declaration signed by then Chinese Premier Zhao Ziyang and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

"We didn't even have the chance to take look at the clauses of the law until it took effect", said Civic Party lawmaker Tanya Chan.

"The United States will not stand idly by while China swallows Hong Kong into its authoritarian maw", he said, adding that the United States has already taken a number of actions in response, which include imposing visa restrictions on CCP officials for eroding Hong Kong's autonomy and freedoms, revoking Hong Kong's special trading status, and imposing similar export restrictions on the city as it does on China on USA defense and dual-use technologies.

Authorities in Taiwan opened a new office to deal with Hong Kongers seeking refuge.

A spokesperson for the People's Republic of China to the European Union on Wednesday also refuted EU's comments on the legislation, saying the law "fully conforms to the "One Country, Two Systems" policy, the Constitution and the Basic Law", and is a "guardian" for the vast majority of Hong Kong residents including foreigners in Hong Kong.

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