March 2, 2021

Hong Kong Makes First Arrest Underneath New Legislation However Superb Print Raises Questions

Hong Kong Makes First Arrest Under New Law But Fine Print Raises Questions

A person stands subsequent to a flag studying “Hong Kong Independence” as folks protest new regulation

Hong Kong, China:

Hong Kong police made the primary arrest underneath Beijing’s new nationwide safety regulation as town greeted the anniversary of its handover to China with protests banned and its cherished freedoms wanting more and more fragile.

The commemorations got here a day after China imposed a sweeping safety regulation on town, a historic transfer decried by many Western governments as an unprecedented assault on the finance hub’s liberties and autonomy.

Police stated a person with a Hong Kong independence flag was the primary to be arrested underneath the brand new regulation, confirming that sure political beliefs and symbols had turn out to be unlawful in a single day.

Opprobrium poured in from critics and western governments — led by america — over fears the regulation will usher in a brand new period of mainland-style political repression.

Underneath a deal forward of the 1997 handover from Britain, authoritarian China assured Hong Kong civil liberties in addition to judicial and legislative autonomy till 2047 in a deal often called “One Nation, Two Techniques”.

“(China) promised 50 years of freedom to the Hong Kong folks, and gave them solely 23,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated as he promised unspecified countermeasures.

However Beijing stated international nations ought to preserve quiet in regards to the regulation, whereas Hong Kong chief Carrie Lam hailed the laws because the “most necessary growth” for the reason that metropolis’s return to Beijing’s rule.

Activists known as on folks to defy a ban on protests and march on Hong Kong island on Wednesday afternoon.

However it was unclear what number of could be prepared to face the dangers posed by the brand new regulation and more and more aggressive police techniques in direction of even peaceable rallies in current months.

Gatherings of greater than 50 persons are banned underneath anti-coronavirus legal guidelines despite the fact that native transmissions have ended.

Riot police shortly used pepper spray and made arrests when just a few hundred folks gathered within the district of Causeway Bay on Wednesday afternoon.

– Floats and helicopters –

Throughout a morning anniversary ceremony, helicopters flew throughout Victoria Harbour carrying a big Chinese language flag and a smaller Hong Kong pennant, whereas a barge appeared with a banner studying “Welcome the Enacting of the Nationwide Safety Legislation” in large Chinese language characters.

Small teams of Beijing supporters waved Chinese language flags in a number of native neighbourhoods, untroubled by police.

The July 1 anniversary has lengthy been a polarising day within the metropolis.

Beijing loyalists rejoice Hong Kong’s return to the Chinese language motherland after a century and a half of what they think about humiliating colonial rule by Britain.

Democracy advocates have used the event to carry massive rallies as widespread anger in direction of Beijing swells — though this yr’s occasion was banned for the primary time in 17 years.

Throughout enormous pro-democracy demonstrations final yr, town’s legislature was besieged and trashed by protesters.

– Chinese language jurisdiction and life sentences –

The “One Nation, Two Techniques” method initially helped cement the Hong Kong’s standing as a world-class enterprise hub, bolstered by an impartial judiciary and political freedoms unseen on the mainland.

However critics have lengthy accused Beijing of chipping away at that standing and describe the brand new safety regulation as probably the most brazen transfer but.

It was handed in simply six weeks, skipping Hong Kong’s fractious legislature, and the exact wording was saved secret till it got here into impact late Tuesday.

It outlaws subversion, secession, terrorism and colluding with international forces to undermine nationwide safety, with sentences of as much as life in jail.

It additionally topples the authorized firewall that has existed between town’s judiciary and the mainland’s party-controlled courts.

China can have jurisdiction over “severe” circumstances and its safety companies may also be capable to function publicly within the metropolis for the primary time.

One other provision additionally claims common jurisdiction for nationwide safety crimes dedicated past Hong Kong or China.

Greater than two dozen nations — together with Britain, France, Germany and Japan — urged Beijing to rethink the regulation, saying in a press release to the UN Human Rights Council that it undermines town’s freedoms.

Canada, in the meantime, up to date a journey advisory on Wednesday for residents in Hong Kong warning that they confronted an elevated threat of arbitrary detention and even extradition to China.

In Taiwan, authorities there opened a brand new workplace to cope with Hong Kongers searching for refuge.

Beijing says the regulation will restore stability after a yr of pro-democracy protests and won’t finish Hong Kong’s freedoms.

However critics have little religion in these assurances given how comparable nationwide safety legal guidelines are routinely used on the mainland to crush dissent.

(Aside from the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV workers and is revealed from a syndicated feed.)