Euronews
Euronews 1 Jul 2020

Hong Kong protests: At least 370 protesters arrested as new Chinese security law takes effect

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Hong Kong protests: At least 370 protesters arrested as new Chinese security law takes effect


More than 50 pro-democracy politicians and campaigners have been arrested in Hong Kong in the biggest crackdown since China imposed the national security law last year.

Most of those held were accused of "subverting state power" by allegedly holding unofficial primaries to pick opposition candidates ahead of postponed 2020 elections.
The sudden arrest of dozens of pro-#democracy activists in #HongKong, in the most sweeping use of a new national security law to date, is a clear sign of #Beijing's determination to rein in political opposition in the former British colony. FRANCE 24's Oliver Farry tells us more.
The UN human rights office (OHCHR) today (07 Jan) voiced deep concerns over the arrests of over 50 individuals under the new National Security Law in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China, and called for their immediate release.

Fifty-three political activists, academics, former legislators, current district councilors, and lawyers, were arrested on Wednesday, according to the office.

Liz Throssell, OHCHR spokesperson, said that the arrests were the latest in a series of detentions related to the exercise of fundamental freedoms, including the right to peaceful assembly, in Hong Kong.

SOUNDBITE (English) Liz Throssell, Spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR): "We are deeply concerned about the arrests on Wednesday of 53 political activists, academics, former legislators, current district councillors, and lawyers in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and we call for their immediate release. These latest arrests indicate that - as had been feared - the offence of subversion under the National Security Law is indeed being used to detain individuals for exercising legitimate rights to participate in political and public life. The UN Human Rights Office and independent UN human rights experts have repeatedly warned that offences such as subversion under the National Security Law, which was passed in June 2020, are vague and overly broad, facilitating abusive or arbitrary implementation. Yesterday's arrests were the latest in a series of detentions related to the exercise of fundamental freedoms, including the right to peaceful assembly, in Hong Kong. We stress that exercise of the right to take part in the conduct of public affairs, directly and through freely chosen representatives, is a fundamental right protected by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which is incorporated into Hong Kong's Basic Law. We call on the authorities to uphold their obligations under the International Covenant, and to refrain from using the National Security Law to suppress the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association. We also urge the authorities to guarantee the right to freedom of expression in the context of ongoing investigations, including by allowing journalists and news organisations to fully and freely exercise their legitimate functions."

OHCHR and independent UN human rights experts have repeatedly warned that offences such as subversion under the National Security Law, passed in June 2020, are vague and overly broad, facilitating abusive or arbitrary implementation.
Hong Kong pro-democracy media tycoon Jimmy Lai has been charged under the territory's controversial new national security law.

Mr Lai, 73, is accused of conspiring with foreign forces to endanger national security, and could face a lengthy jail term.

He is the most high-profile person charged under the new law.

Mr Lai founded the Apple Daily newspaper and is a fierce critic of the Beijing authorities.

Beijing has said the new security law will return stability to the territory after a year of unrest, but critics say it has silenced dissent.

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