HONG KONG | Hong Kong has entered an era of political terror, denounced Thursday, activists pro-democracy after the arrest of four students, including a 16-year-old, for publications accused of threatening the national security of china.
These arrests were the first made by a new police unit based in hong kong created to ensure the respect of the very controversial law on the national security imposed by Beijing in late June.
For many activists in hong kong, these arrests show that their fears were well-founded in respect of this act, regarded by some as the final nail in the coffin of the semi-local self-government.
Under the principle of “One country, two systems”, which had led to the retrocession in 1997, the former british colony is supposed to enjoy until 2047 freedoms unknown in China. But many believe that Beijing is in the process of advancing maturity.
The four students arrested were former members of the Student Localism, an organization advocating the independence which had announced its dissolution on the eve of the entry into force of the new law on the security.
The silencing of dissent
The police said that four young people — three men and a woman, between the ages of 16 to 21 — were suspected of”organizing and inciting secession” through comments made on social networks after the entry into force of the law.
“They wanted to unify all the pro-independence groups in Hong Kong the objective of promoting the cause of independence”, told reporters Li Kwai-wah, to the new unit of national security was created within the police in hong kong.
Images posted online showed police officers in plain clothes taking Tony Chung, 19 years old, former leader of the Student Localism.
“Hong Kong has fallen into an era of white Terror”, were denounced in the night the Student Unions of Higher Institutions, who oversee 13 student unions.
“It is clear that more and more hong Kong people will have to endure (…) the communist terror.”
Nathan Law, one of the figures of the camp, pro-democracy, which has taken the path of the exile when the act came into force, has also denounced the arrests on Twitter.
“The white Terror, the politics of fear are at work in Hong Kong,” he said. The expression “white Terror” refers to China in the periods of political repression.
“The police reminded the population that the Internet is not a virtual space, above the law,” said in the night the police in a press release.
“Anyone who commits an illegal act, in either the real world or on the Internet, is open to prosecution.”
The bad use “of this draconian law shows clearly that the objective is to silence dissent, not protect the national security,” responded Sophie Richardson, director of research on China at Human Rights Watch.
The national security act was a response from China, the most serious political crisis that Hong Kong has ever known. The city has the past year been the scene for months of demonstrations almost daily, and often violent, against the interference of China in the affairs in hong kong.
Beijing had explained that this was necessary to restore order and to act as a sword of Damocles over the people that violate the law.
The law punishes, “subversion, secession, terrorism and the collusion with foreign forces”.
At least 15 people have been arrested under this law since its adoption on 30 June.