Adopted yesterday, already applied today: For the first time, people have been arrested in Hong Kong on the basis of the new “Security Act”. The police used water cannons against demonstrators.
Dozens of demonstrators in the Chinese Special Administrative Region have been arrested during protests against the new “National Security Law” in Hong Kong. The police reported more than 30 arrests. Hong Kong media reported that the reasons given were violations of the new law, the ban on assembly or even police disability.
The first arrest under the new law was, according to police, a young man who had shown a flag calling for Hong Kong independence in the Causeway Bay neighborhood. A large contingent of security forces sealed off several blocks in the busy shopping area to drive out the demonstrators. Eyewitnesses reported, among other things, the use of pepper spray, tear gas and water cannons.
Protests despite the ban
After the controversial law came into force, many people took to the streets to protest despite the ban on demonstrations. Today is also the 23rd anniversary of the return of the British Crown Colony to China on July 1, 1997. The police have mobilized a large number of security forces.
According to the new law, many things are now prohibited in Hong Kong that were previously covered by the right to freedom of expression. Among other things, it is aimed at “undermining national unification”. This means efforts to seek independence for Hong Kong or other areas that Beijing sees as part of the People’s Republic. It also opposes “undermining state authority”, “terrorism” or “secret collusion” with forces abroad.
Beijing speaks of “turning point in development”
From Beijing’s perspective, the law is a “turning point in the development” of the Chinese special administrative region. Vice Director Zhang Xiaoming of the Hong Kong and Macau Office at the State Council said the law should stabilize Hong Kong and correct deviations from the “one country, two systems” principle.
According to this principle, the former British crown colony has been governed as an autonomous territory since it was returned to China in 1997. Nobody understands the values and the true meaning of the principle “better than we do,” he said.
Maas: “Extremely worrying”
Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas calls for the European Union to act jointly with China. “When it comes to China, it is important that we act as Europeans and that not everyone looks for his own way,” said the SPD politician in the joint morning magazine of ARD and ZDF.
China’s new “security law” for Hong Kong is “extremely worrying” and will affect relations with the EU. “I believe that the European Union must now be very clear about this,” said Maas. China may be the first test of common action. “This is one of the examples that shows that (…) we have only one chance to assert our interests and our values if we do this as Europeans, everyone is too small for that.”