Hong Kong legislators protest against China’s arrest of activists

Pro-democracy politicians call for the release of 12 Hong Kong activists arrested at sea by Chinese authorities.

Pro-democracy activists Eddie Chu and Owen Chow with relatives of some of the 12 Hong Kong detainees report to the police in Hong Kong to seek help for them in China [Tyrone Siu/ Reuters]

25 Sep 2020

Opposition politicians in Hong Kong have staged a protest in the city’s legislature, calling for the release of 12 activists arrested at sea by China as international concern grows over the status of the detainees.

About a dozen members of Hong Kong’s legislature surrounded Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung on Friday, demanding he meet the detainees’ families and try to bring them home.

“Release the 12 Hong Kongers immediately,” the politicians shouted, holding up placards with the same message and delaying the start of Friday’s session.

The 12, who include a 16-year-old, were arrested on August 23 shortly after they set off from Hong Kong in a boat bound for self-ruled Taiwan.

Chinese police have said the detainees, who are being held in the southern city of Shenzhen, were suspected of illegal border crossing and they have been labelled “separatists” by China’s foreign ministry. Hong Kong authorities say they are all suspected of crimes in the territory related to the anti-government protests that erupted last year.

The families of some of the 12 held a news conference on September 12, masked and hooded to avoid identification, and made a plea to Chinese authorities to allow the detainees to contact family members and be represented by independent lawyers.    [FULL  STORY]