AT LEAST 50 activists and political figures have been arrested in Hong Kong in China’s biggest crackdown yet on the city state’s pro-democracy movement.
Hong Kong police arrested at least 50 members of the city state’s pro-democracy movement on Wednesday (January 6th), the biggest crackdown since Beijing rolled in a controversial new security law last year.
Those detained are linked to an unofficial election primary staged in July last year, in which 600,000 Hong Kongers cast their vote to promote democracy in the territory. At least seven members of the Democratic Party, Hong Kong’s largest opposition group, are among the detained, including its leader Wu Chi-Mai.
The offices of Stand News, an opposition media outlet, were raided by police who seized documents from the website’s headquarters. Local media reports that Benny Tai, a former law professor who gained prominence during the 2014 Occupy Central movement, is also among the arrested activists.
The massive crackdown was condemned by Anthony Blinken, the U.S. Secretary of State nominee for the upcoming Biden administration, who Tweeted that the arrests were an “assault on those bravely advocating for universal rights.”
“The Biden-Harris administration will stand with the people of Hong Kong and against Beijing’s crackdown on democracy,” Blinken wrote in his tweet.
Hong Kong’s new security law targets what the Chinese government broadly defines as secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with foreign forces. Those in breach of the new measures could face a lifetime in prison. World governments and activist groups have condemned the law, saying it effectively stifles any political dissent against Beijing’s government.
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