Hong Kong ‘issues arrest warrants’ for exiled democracy activists

Chinese state television says Hong Kong police ordered arrest of six activists on charges of violating security law.

Al Jazeera
Date: 1 Aug 2020

A man wearing a face mask holds up a placard during a protest against Hong Kong's deteriorating freedoms outside China's embassy in London, UK [John Sibley/Reuters]

Police in Hong Kong have ordered the arrest of several pro-democracy activists living in exile on suspicion of violating a China-imposed national security law, according to Chinese state media.

CCTV said late on Friday the six are wanted on suspicion of secession or colluding with foreign forces, crimes the new law punishes with up to life in prison.

It named them as Nathan Law, Wayne Chan Ka-kui, Honcques Laus, Simon Cheng and Ray Wong Toi-yeung. Samuel Chu, an American citizen living in the United States, was also on the list.

Hong Kong police declined to comment.

The arrest warrants mark the first time the city's police have used the extraterritorial power in the new law to go after activists who are not in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory. 

Chu, speaking to Al Jazeera from the US city of Los Angeles, described the warrant for his arrest as "outrageous" and said it showed "how desperate and how scared" China is of international pressure. 

"It's such an outlandish claim that they somehow have jurisdiction over an American citizen lobbying the American government," said Chu, who runs the Hong Kong Democracy Council, a Washington, DC-based advocacy group.

"The kind of global bullying and censorship, not only of citizens of other countries, but businesses … it's starting to create a united front line, globally, pushing back," Chu said, adding: "Today's move, particularly, shows they are scared of losing control. They know that if Hong Kong can continue to be a place of resistance, it threatens their control all over the mainland."

'Absurdity'

Nathan Law, a former Hong Kong legislator who is currently in the United Kingdom, called the charges "trumped-up" and said his only crime was that he "loves Hong Kong too much".

He said on Facebook the "wanted bulletins", recent arrests, and mass disqualifications of pro-democracy activists from a now-delayed legislative council election are "indications of our need to remain active on the global stage".    [FULL  STORY]

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