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World Hong Kong: three new arrests of pro-democracy activists

20:40  27 october  2020
20:40  27 october  2020 Source:   liberation.fr

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Tony Chung, le 8 août. © ISAAC LAWRENCE Tony Chung, August 8. These three arrests, this Tuesday, show that the authorities are maintaining pressure on the pro-democracy movement, invoking the law on national security.

No respite for Hong Kong activists. Pro-democracy activist Tony Chung was arrested again in Hong Kong on Tuesday at around 8 a.m. (1 a.m. in France). He was in a cafe near the US consulate when the police came to arrest him. 19-year-old Tony Chung rose to prominence during the pro-democracy mobilisations in Hong Kong, which restarted in the spring of 2019, as the leader of the Studentlocalism group, a gathering of students in favor of independence. In May 2019, he was briefly arrested during scuffles at the headquarters of Legco, the Hong Kong Parliament. Studentlocalism was dismantled in June for secession, subversion and terrorism.

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A few hours later, in the early afternoon, two other former members of Studentlocalism, Yannis Ho and William Chan, were also arrested. This is not the first time that this student movement has been targeted by the authorities. In July, Chung and Ho were arrested and questioned at length by the police, who used Beijing's new security law.

Released on bail after forty-eight hours, the young activists then denounced a "political maneuver" by the police. This time, Tony Chung told that authorities searched his home from top to bottom, confiscating a lot of "evidence" in the process, while no charges were brought against him.

Putting a stop to independence tendencies

According to the South China Morning Post , the young activist was about to apply for asylum in the United States when he was taken on board by the national security forces. The newspaper posted a video on its website showing a man, who Hong Kong journalists said would be Tony Chung, escorted by two plainclothes officers, holding him by the wrists and neck.

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The Hong Kong Studentlocalism US Division Facebook page - still active despite the disbandment of the group of the same name - provides regular updates on the situation of the three arrested activists. Tony Chung is accused of violating national security law and laundering money, she said. In a message published late Tuesday evening, she "calls on all organizations and individuals to refrain from providing information on the funding" of the pro-democracy movement.

The National Security Law, which came into effect on June 30, has resulted in the arrest of hundreds of people in Hong Kong. The former British colony, ceded to China in 1997, had until then enjoyed broad autonomy from Beijing. But this legislation, adopted following the pro-democracy movement launched in 2019, allows the Chinese Communist Party to regain control. He thus hopes to definitively put down the independence tendencies of this small territory of 7.5 million inhabitants.

Like Tony Chung, many young Hong Kong people are thinking about seeking asylum abroad. Hundreds of them have already taken the plunge and emigrate to Australia, the United Kingdom or even Canada. This is the case with several figures in the protest movement, such as Nathan Law, but also ordinary citizens who have lost hope in Hong Kong's future.

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