Hogcog – Hong Kong police on Wednesday arrested 53 former lawmakers and democracy supporters, including an American human rights lawyer, on charges of violating one New national security law By participating in informal electoral priorities for the legislature of the region last year. The mass arrests were the biggest action against Hong Kong’s democracy movement as legislation was enacted by Beijing last June to spread dissent in the semi-autonomous region.
“The operation today targets active elements who are suspected of involvement in the crime of overthrowing, or interfering with (and) seriously destroying the legal execution of Hong Kong government duties,” John Lee, Hong Kong’s security minister Said at a news conference. .
He said those arrested were suspected to be trying to paralyze the government by securing a majority in the legislature and a situation arising in which the chief executive had to resign and the government would stop functioning.
In a video posted on the Facebook page of former legislator Lam Cheuk-ting, police are seen rolling over her house and suspecting her of “violating national security law, which is infringing on the power of the state.” Police told video-recorders to stop the arrest or risk.
The legislative election that followed the unofficial primaries was postponed for a year by Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, who cited public health risks during the coronovirus epidemic. The mass resignation and disqualification of pro-democracy lawmakers has made the legislature largely a pro-Beijing body.
Lee said police would not target those who voted in informal primaries that took place in July last year and attracted more than 600,000 voters, although pro-Beijing lawmakers and politicians warned that event security May break the law.
Who was arrested?
All pro-democracy candidates were arrested in informal primaries, according to the South China Morning Post, online platform Now News, and a prolonged period of arrest reported by political groups.
At least seven members of Hong Kong’s Democratic Party – the city’s largest opposition party – were arrested, including former party president Wu Chi-wai. Former lawgivers Lam, Helena Wong and James Two were also arrested, according to posts on the party’s Facebook page.
According to reports, Hong Kong’s 2014 Occupy Central protests and a former law professor, Benny Tai, were also arrested. Tai was one of the main organizers of the primary.
House of Joshua Wong, a prominent pro-democracy activist Is serving a jail sentence of 13 1/2 months According to a tweet posted from Wong’s account, she was also raided for organizing and participating in an unauthorized protest last year.
US human rights lawyer in custody
US human rights lawyer John Clancy was also arrested on Wednesday. Clancy was the treasurer of the political group Power for Democracy, which was involved in informal primaries.
In a video posted by local online news outlet Citizen News, Clance said, “We need to work for democracy and human rights in Hong Kong.”
Police also went to the headquarters of Stand News, a leading pro-democracy online news site in Hong Kong, with a court order handing over documents to aid in investigations related to the national security law, according to a livestreamed video by Stand News. . No arrests were made.
The ensuing arrest condemned the widespread arrest by the US Secretary of State for Administration Anthony Blinken, who said on Twitter that it was “an attack on those advocating universal rights.”
Blinken wrote in his tweet, “The Biden-Harris administration will stand with the people of Hong Kong and be against Beijing’s ban on democracy.”
The alleged plan for “mutual destruction”
Lee also pointed to a “10 Steps to Mutual Destruction” plan among the arrested people, including control of the legislature, crippling society, and staging protests to invoke international sanctions.
The plan was first outlined by former law professor Tai. He predicted that there would be 10 stages of mutual destruction between 2020 and 2022, including winning a majority in the pro-democracy bloc, intensifying protests, the forced resignation of Chief Executive Carrie Lam as the budget was rejected twice, and the Chinese Communist International ban on party.
The concept of mutual destruction – which would harm both Hong Kong and China – is popular among some protesters and pro-democracy activists.
Lee said, “This conspiracy is going to create such devastation that if successful … it will cause serious harm to society.” “This is why police action is necessary today.”
Senior Superintendent of the National Security Unit, Steve Lee, said at a news conference that 53 people – 45 men and eight women between the ages of 23 and 64 – were arrested in an operation, involving 1,000 officers.
Six were arrested for destroying state power by organizing informal primaries, while the rest were arrested for allegedly participating in the program, Lee said. He said more arrests could be made and investigations were on.
A rising crack
In recent months, Hong Kong has already jailed several pro-democracy activists, including Wong and Agnes Chow, for engaging in anti-government demonstrations, and others have been charged under national security law including media tycoons and Pro-democracy activist Jimmy Lye.
The Security Law criminalizes acts of sabotage, segregation, terrorism and collusion with foreign powers to interfere in the affairs of the city. Serious criminals can face a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said at the time of the informal primaries last year that if her motive was to oppose every policy initiative by the Hong Kong government, the election could fall under state power, a crime under the National Security Law.
Beijing also called the primaries illegal and a “serious provocation” of Hong Kong’s electoral system.
After Hong Kong was handed over to China by the British in 1997, the semi-autonomous Chinese city has worked on a “one country, two systems” framework that frees it that confirms independence not found on the mainland. In recent years, Beijing has claimed greater control over the city, drawing criticism that it was breaking Hong Kong’s promise to uphold civil rights and political systems for 50 years.
Human Rights Watch said that Beijing’s suggestion of arrest failed to find that repression generates resistance. HRW senior China researcher Maya Wang said in a statement that “Hong Kong’s millions will remain in their struggle for the right to vote and race for office in a democratically elected government.”
In further commentary for the Associated Press, Wang said it was unclear what provisions of the law were being cited to justify the arrest, but local authorities seemed less concerned about the legal substance.
Wang said, “The nature of the national security law is in the form of a rigid blanket law, which allows the government to use its constitutionally protected rights to arrest and potentially imprison people for long periods of time.” . “
“The veneer of rules legislation is also stripped of any meaning in mainland China. Hong Kong seems like mainland China, but where one ends and the other begins is tough”.