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(Hong Kong—July 2, 2020) Hong Kong police arrested around 370 protestors yesterday, just one day after the implementation of a new security law.
Of the 370, 10 were accused of violating the new law.
The protestors had gathered to demonstrate against Beijing’s encroaching interference with Hong Kong’s freedoms. The new law bans subversion, sedition, terrorism, and collusion with foreign forces. It also positions Beijing at the head of Hong Kong’s legal system in these cases.
The arrests have furthered fears that authorities will use the law to arrest and prosecute people fighting for their rights. In mainland China, national security charges are usually used to target religious people and rights activists. Both are demographics that received relatively more protection under Hong Kong’s previous laws.
In addition, China can now send people charged with national security crimes to the mainland for trial, where they will face a jury-less hearing and receive a verdict from a judge with loyalties to the government. This was proposed last year by Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam but elicited so much uproar that Lam was forced to suspend the bill.
Now, it is back, but with severe consequences: those accused of violating national security can face up to life in prison.