Hong Kong promises ‘fear’ to wanted pro-democracy activists

Hong Kong promises ‘fear’ to wanted pro-democracy activists

Hong Kong’s leader on Tuesday called for eight exiled and police-wanted pro-democracy activists to surrender or “live in fear”, while China, for its part, criticized the UK’s protection of “fugitives”.

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Relations between Hong Kong, a territory that returned to China in 1997, and the former British colonial power have been strained since the enactment of the national security law in 2020 in the wake of pro-democracy protests.

Critics accuse the text of pushing back freedoms in Hong Kong and driving into exile people linked to demonstrations that rocked the city at times violently from June to December 2019.

Police promised a reward of one million Hong Kong dollars (117,000 euros) for information that would lead to the arrest of eight pro-democracy activists.

They are accused of colluding with foreign forces to endanger national security, an act punishable by life imprisonment.

“The only way to end their fate as fugitives, who will be hunted for the rest of their lives, is to surrender,” Hong Kong leader John Lee said on Tuesday.

Otherwise, he assured the journalists, they would live “in fear.”

Mr. Lee also called on people to help the police, adding that even the activists’ “relatives and friends” could provide information.

The measure has been denounced by the United States, United Kingdom and Australia, countries where some of the wanted activists reside.


“I am not afraid of political pressure on us, because we do what we think is right,” insisted the Hong Kong leader.

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Among those targeted was Nathan Law, a symbol of the pro-democracy movement, who fled Hong Kong to the United Kingdom where he was granted political asylum.

“We will not tolerate China’s attempts to intimidate and silence individuals in the UK and abroad,” British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said in a statement on Monday.

“The UK will always uphold the universal right to freedom of expression and stand up for those targeted,” the minister added.

China criticized the remarks on Tuesday.

A spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in the United Kingdom condemned “British politicians openly offering their protection to the fugitives”, and condemned London’s “interference” in China’s internal affairs.

The United States also spoke out against the reward system promised by the Hong Kong authorities.

“The extraterritorial application of the national security law imposed by Beijing sets a dangerous precedent that threatens the human rights and fundamental freedoms of citizens around the world,” warned US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller in a statement released Monday.

” silly “

Since Beijing imposed the national security law, the United Kingdom and the United States have suspended the extradition agreement with Hong Kong.

Nathan Law, a prominent figure in the pro-democracy movement, called on Hong Kong residents not to cooperate with the police. “I am only from Hong Kong speaking on behalf of the people of Hong Kong,” he wrote on Twitter.

Another defendant, Ted Hui Chi Fung, a former Hong Kong lawyer now living in exile in Australia, called the reward system “ridiculous”.

This promise of reward by the Hong Kong authorities comes after the 26th anniversary of the former British colony’s return to China on July 1, 1997.

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Since the central government in Beijing imposed the national security law in Hong Kong, 260 people have been arrested and more than 160 others have been charged, as well as five companies.

The legislation calls into question the judicial independence the former British colony was supposed to have enjoyed for 50 years under the principle of “one country, two systems,” which grants a certain degree of autonomy to Hong Kong.

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About the Author: Hermínio Guimarães

"Introvertido premiado. Viciado em mídia social sutilmente charmoso. Praticante de zumbis. Aficionado por música irritantemente humilde."

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