In Hong Kong, the police arrested a person for the first time based on the new “security law”. The man was detained for holding an independence flag, the Hong Kong police said on Twitter on Wednesday.
#BREAKING: A man was arrested for holding a #HKIndependence flag in #CausewayBay, Hong Kong, violating the #NationalSecurityLaw. This is the first arrest made since the law has come into force. pic.twitter.com/C0ezm3SGDm
– Hong Kong Police Force (@hkpoliceforce) July 1, 2020
The detainee was picked up with the flag in the popular shopping area Causeway Bay in the Chinese special administrative zone. He had thus violated the national security law that had only been passed the day before. Images posted by the police on Twitter showed the flag on the sidewalk in front of a man wearing a black t-shirt that said “Free Hong Kong”.
The new “Hong Kong National Security Protection Law” is even stricter than expected. China’s organs have far-reaching powers in the Special Administrative Region. The maximum sentence for violations of the law is life imprisonment, as is clear from the text on Wednesday.
The former British Crown Colony was returned to China in 1997. Contrary to the freedom and autonomy of the territory guaranteed at the time, Chinese authorities in Hong Kong can in future arbitrarily carry out investigations and exercise sovereignty.
Simultaneously with the entry into force of the new law, the metropolis celebrated the 23rd anniversary of the change of sovereignty from London to Beijing on July 1, 1997. The flags of the People’s Republic and Hong Kong were hoisted on a largely enclosed area at the harbor. Beijing Prime Minister Carrie Lam expressed hope that the new security law would bring “peace” back. The police had banned protests. The corona pandemic and the “ongoing social unrest” in the Asian port city were referred to as reasons.
Decree passed unanimously
Despite the ban, protest groups called on the streets. How many of the seven million Hong Kongers will follow the request initially remained unclear due to the high penalties imposed by the vaguely worded law. Despite worldwide criticism, the Standing Committee of the Chinese parliament, which was not freely elected in Beijing, unanimously adopted the decree, which remained secret until its entry into force on Wednesday night.
Local and international critics accuse the Chinese leadership of abolishing the “one country – two systems” principle and wanting to suppress democratic civil rights in Hong Kong. The law is the strongest cut in Hong Kong’s semi-autonomous status to date. (apa)