Hong Kong protests: First arrest made under new security law

Hundreds turned out to protest the laws within the busy buying district of Causeway Bay however have been met with a heavy security presence. Riot police fired pepper spray into the group, kettled and dispersed protesters, and deployed water cannons.

During the protest, Hong Kong Police made the primary arrest under the new law — a person who was holding a black flag carrying the phrases “Hong Kong independence,” police stated on Twitter.

In complete, 30 folks have been arrested under the fees of unlawful meeting, violating the nationwide security law, obstruction of police, and possession of offensive weaponry, in line with police.

The national security law got here into impact in Hong Kong within the lead-up to July 1 — the 23rd anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong from British rule to China — and dramatically broadens the powers of native and mainland authorities to analyze, prosecute and punish dissenters.

In obscure language, the law criminalizes secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with overseas powers. People convicted of such crimes can face sentences of as much as life in jail.

July 1 is historically a day of protests within the metropolis however for the primary time since handover, police didn’t give permission to protesters to carry peaceable demonstrations.

Despite the specter of stricter penalties, a small variety of protesters did end up chanting and waving flags. Police demanded they cease chanting pro-independence slogans — in addition they unfurled a purple flag warning protesters of being in violation of the new law.

On June 30, police commanders have been advised in a coaching session that anyone seen waving an independence flag or chanting for independence must be arrested, a police supply stated — as ought to anybody present in possession of independence flags.

On Wednesday, Hong Kong’s high official, Chief Executive Carrie Lam, stated the law is a “crucial step to ending chaos and violence that has occurred over the past few months” within the metropolis.

“The national security law is the most important development in securing ties between China and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region since the handover,” she stated, framing criticism of the law as “vicious attacks.”

The stringent new laws and its 66 articles have been saved secret from the general public till the law went into impact and seem to supply the federal government, courts, police and authorities a roadmap to quash any trace of the mass anti-government protests that rocked the town final 12 months.

Here are a number of the key takeaways of the law, in line with a translation from Chinese state information company Xinhua.

  • The law establishes 4 new offenses of secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with overseas powers. The most penalty for every is life imprisonment.
  • The Chinese central authorities will set up its personal law enforcement presence in Hong Kong, labeled the “Office for Safeguarding National Security.”
  • A nationwide security committee for Hong Kong will even be established, comprised of Hong Kong authorities officers and an adviser appointed by the Chinese central authorities. The group’s workings “shall not be disclosed to the public,” and “decisions by the committee shall not be amenable to judicial review.”
  • Activities similar to damaging public transport and public companies “in order to pursue political agenda” will be thought of terrorism — a provision that seems to focus on protesters who final 12 months disrupted site visitors and the town’s infrastructure.
  • A terrorism cost also can embody the vaguely worded provision of “other dangerous activities which seriously jeopardize public health, safety or security.”
  • The law targets perceived overseas interference in Hong Kong. Throughout the protests, the Chinese authorities blamed “foreign forces” for interfering within the metropolis’s affairs. The law states that anybody who “steals, spies, obtains with payment, or unlawfully provides state secrets or intelligence” to a overseas nation, establishment, group or particular person shall be responsible of an offense under collusion with overseas powers.
  • The law additionally makes it an offense for folks to name on a overseas nation, establishment, group or particular person to impose sanctions or blockades on Hong Kong. The US stated it could impose visa restrictions on present and former Chinese officers over Hong Kong.
  • Working with a overseas authorities, establishment, group or particular person to incite hatred in opposition to the Hong Kong or Chinese Central authorities is now a offense.
  • The law can be utilized to non-permanent residents in Hong Kong and those that are in violation of the law shall be deported, no matter conviction. It additionally applies to non residents abroad who violate the nationwide security law whereas overseas. This raises the prospect of overseas nationals being charged for suspected crimes dedicated whereas abroad ought to they go to the territory.
  • Those convicted of a nationwide security crime in court docket can not stand for elections or maintain public workplace.
  • Hong Kong’s Chief Executive now has the facility to nominate judges to deal with instances associated to nationwide security. National security instances involving state secrets and techniques will be tried and not using a jury.
  • Hong Kong courts will oversee nationwide security instances however Beijing can take over prosecution in sure circumstances, making use of Chinese law and prosecution requirements.
  • In these instances, Beijing can select which prosecuting physique will hear the case and which court docket will probably be heard in, that means that instances may doubtlessly be held within the mainland. The anti-government protests final 12 months have been sparked over a proposed law that may permit extradition to mainland China.
  • Trials shall be held in an open court docket however when the case includes “state secrets or public order” it may be moved behind closed doorways.
  • A new nationwide security unit shall be arrange within the Hong Kong Police Force that may have the facility to go looking properties, intercept info and carry out covert surveillance and not using a warrant. It also can recruit members from exterior of Hong Kong — doubtlessly permitting mainland officers to function within the metropolis.
  • The law additionally directs the Hong Kong authorities, together with the new fee, to strengthen its administration over overseas information businesses and non-government organizations.
  • Ultimately, the nationwide security law trumps native legal guidelines: the new laws states that if there’s a battle with present Hong Kong law, the nationwide security law will prevail.


The laws has been broadly criticized by opposition lawmakers in Hong Kong, human rights teams and politicians worldwide. Many fear it will be used to target political dissidents, activists, human rights attorneys and journalists amid the central authorities’s persevering with crackdown on civil society under Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Opponents of the law say it marks the top of the “one country, two systems” — a precept by which Hong Kong has retained restricted democracy and civil liberties since coming under Chinese management.

Crucially, these freedoms embody the appropriate to meeting, a free press, and an impartial judiciary, rights that aren’t loved on the Chinese mainland.

On Wednesday, the Chinese authorities staunchly defended the law, calling it an ideal embodiment of the “one country, two system” coverage.

“If we want to implement ‘one country, one system,’ things would have been much simpler,” stated Zhang Xiaoming, govt deputy director of China’s Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office. “We could have directly applied Chinese criminal code, prosecution law and national security law to Hong Kong. Why would we go to such lengths to tailor-make a national security law for Hong Kong?”

Officials additionally brushed apart considerations over the law’s influence on freedom of speech, judicial independence and political range, reiterating that it targets solely a tiny minority of people that intend to do actual hurt to Hong Kong.

Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam following a flag-raising ceremony to mark the handover on July 1, 2020.

Shen Chunyao, director of legislative affairs fee of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, China’s high lawmaking physique, which handed the new law, stated solely under “very rare” circumstances would Chinese state security brokers and judicial authorities get entangled in Hong Kong instances.

“We don’t want to see (such occurrences), but we must set up a system that take such risks and factors into consideration,” he stated.

Michael Tien, Hong Kong’s Deputy to the National People’s Congress, stated the law was being blown “out of proportion” and that its essential objective was to “act as a deterrent.”

“It’s a short, sharp sword hanging over a minority of people,” Tien stated. He added that he believes instances wherein Beijing steps in and sends folks to the mainland to be tried shall be a “different level of crime.”

“I do not call rocking a bus or paralyzing the Hong Kong public transport as an imminent threat to national security,” he stated.

But Jimmy Lai, a Hong Kong media tycoon recognized for his outspoken assist of the town’s pro-democracy motion, stated the law “spells a death knell to Hong Kong because it supersedes our law and our rule of law.”

Rights group Amnesty International stated the laws “represents the greatest threat to human rights in the city’s recent history.”

On Wednesday, Canada updated its travel advice for Hong Kong, warning its residents that they “may be at increased risk of arbitrary detention on national security grounds and possible extradition to mainland China.”

United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated it was a “sad day for Hong Kong, and for freedom-loving people across China” with the imposition of the nationwide security laws in Hong Kong.

He stated the law “destroys the territory’s autonomy and one of China’s greatest achievements.”

CNN’s Steven Jiang, James Griffiths, Roger Clark, Karina Tsui, Jadyn Sham, Vanesse Chan, Chermaine Lee, Kylie Atwood, Philip Wang contributed.

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