Disqualification of opposition figures under security law imposed by China seen as political purge
The arrest of four students in Hong Kong’s first crackdown on political figures after the enactment of a sweeping national security law imposed by China and the disqualification of at least 12 pro-democracy candidates in the legislative election have prompted widespread public outrage.
Tony Chung, 19, the convenor of disbanded pro-independence group Studentlocalism and three other members were arrested late on Wednesday.
Without naming them, Hong Kong police’s newly-formed national security division said young people aged between 16 and 21 had been arrested under the new national security law for “organising and inciting secession” by their advocacy of independence.
Pro-Beijing press reported on the “thwarting” of the pro-independence group. The China-owned Wen Wei Po newspaper said the “national security police brandished its sword” in making the arrests and attacked the group for superficially closing but continuing to operate to “spread its pro-independence poison”.
The national security law stipulates that secessionist crimes are punishable by three to 10 years in jail or, in “serious” cases, life imprisonment.