The Hong Kong Police has issued arrest warrants for six pro-democracy activists in exile, marking the first time city officials have used a comprehensive new law to target campaigners living outside Hong Kong.
They include Samuel Chu, an American citizen who lives in the US, Nathan Law, a prominent evangelist who recently relocated to the UK after fleeing Hong Kong, and Simon Cheng, a former British consular employee, who was charged After was granted asylum in Britain. Was tortured in China.
Chinese state media reported that the six men wanted to “incite alienation and collusion with foreign forces”.
The move comes a month after China introduced the controversial National Security Act in Hong Kong. China said the law targets crimes of “secularism, sabotage, terrorism and collusion of foreign forces” and carries penalties as severe as life in prison.
Critics warned that it would be used to target legitimate protest, and highlighted the unusual decision to implement the law for both Hong Kong residents and non-residents. This clearly gives China jurisdiction beyond its borders.
Chu is the first to run the Hong Kong Democracy Council, a Washington DC-based advocacy organization dedicated to advancing Hong Kong’s independence and democracy, which is targeted under this aspect of the law.
He said that China is sending a clear message to other activists by ordering their arrest.
“I would really emphasize how outrageous it really is,” Chu told the Guardian. “I am the first non-Chinese citizen to be essentially targeted. I think they want to try to make it an example. “
Several countries have suspended their extradition treaties with Hong Kong, including the UK, Australia and Germany, as a possible safeguard against attempts to use national security laws to round up activists abroad. The US first ordered the end of Hong Kong’s special economic situation in July.
Chu, who has been living in the US as an American citizen since 1996, said China took the money to “target the American citizen for lobbying my government”.
“We always knew that when the National Security Law came into force, there was a very disturbing and irrational, irrational idea that they were claiming jurisdiction over someone who is not even a Hong Kong resident, somewhere in the world Also, who they are is threatened, “he said.
HK Police is targeting an American citizen for my own lobbying. I may be the first non-Chinese citizen to be targeted, but I will not be the last. If I am targeted, any American / any citizen of any nation who speaks for HK CAN, and will.
We are all from Hong Kong. pic.twitter.com/KQYGcStY1e
– Samuel Chu 朱 牧民 (@samuelmchu) 31 July 2020
Other activists were charged with Wae Wong, Wen Chan and Oncus Los.
Wong, who is currently in the UK, told Reuters that allegations showed the Chinese government was afraid of Hong Kong activism work internationally.
“I think they want to cut off our relationship with the people in Hong Kong … This will cause people to fear that they may violate the national security law by contacting us,” Wong said.