A man carrying a “Liberate Hong Kong” signal as he drove a motorbike into police at a protest towards the territory’s Chinese rulers turned on Friday the first particular person charged with inciting separatism and terrorism beneath a new security law.
Beijing imposed the laws on the previous British colony earlier this week regardless of protests from Hong Kongers and Western nations, setting China’s freest metropolis and a serious monetary hub on a extra authoritarian observe.
Critics say the law – which punishes crimes of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with international forces with as much as life in jail – is geared toward crushing dissent and a long-running marketing campaign for larger democracy.
Police say 23-year-old Tong Ying-kit rammed and injured some officers at an unlawful protest on Wednesday. A video on-line confirmed a bike knocking over a number of officers on a slender road earlier than the motive force falls over and is arrested.
Tong, who was hospitalised after the incident, was charged lower than 24 hours after the town authorities mentioned the slogan he was carrying – “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times” – connotes separatism or subversion beneath the new law.
The rallying cry seems on placards, T-shirts, and post-it notes caught to partitions round Hong Kong.
China’s parliament adopted the security law after generally violent protests final yr triggered by fears Beijing was stifling freedoms, assured by a “one country, two systems” components agreed when Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997.
Authorities in Beijing and Hong Kong say the law goals at just a few “troublemakers” and never wider rights that underpin the town’s function as a gateway for capital flows in and out of China.
But worldwide anxiousness is rising after authorities arrested 10 individuals beneath the new law inside 24 hours of it taking impact. The European Union (EU) has put Hong Kong excessive on its agenda whereas the United Nations’ rights workplace expressed alarm over arrests.
“I’M NOT SCARED”
At one other court docket, dozens gathered in solidarity with a man charged for stabbing a policeman in the arm throughout Wednesday’s disturbances. They held up clean items of paper to indicate fears at no cost speech.
“I’m not scared. Come what may,” mentioned a 25-year-old protester who gave his identify solely as Wilson.
On Wednesday’s 23rd anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to Chinese rule, police arrested about 370 individuals, with 10 circumstances involving violations of the new law.
In an additional ominous signal for activists, a Communist Party cadre outstanding throughout a 2011 clampdown on land rights protesters in a south China village is to move a newly-empowered nationwide security workplace in Hong Kong, official information company Xinhua mentioned.
Zheng Yanxiong, 57, most lately served as secretary basic of the Communist Party committee of Guangdong province, bordering Hong Kong.
Leaked footage in the course of the 2011 dispute confirmed him berating villagers and calling international media “rotten”.
The new laws offers the security workplace larger enforcement motion and powers to take suspects onto the mainland, in addition to granting privileges for brokers, together with that Hong Kong authorities can’t examine their automobiles.
Some activists have been holding a low profile or leaving.
Demosisto, a pro-democracy group led by Joshua Wong, disbanded hours after the laws was handed, whereas outstanding group member Nathan Law left the town.
“The protests in Hong Kong have been a window for the world to recognise that China is getting more and more authoritarian,” Law informed Reuters.
Hong Kong’s publicly-funded public broadcaster RTHK, which has felt the stress of authorities scrutiny, appeared to take heed of the law, reproducing the slogan as “L*******#HongKong” in a touch upon Twitter, to the scorn of some social media customers.