Hong Kong authorities on Monday arrested eight people in connection with an unauthorised protest at a university campus last month. The arrests are part of a widening crackdown on dissent in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory.
The arrests were reportedly made in relation to a demonstration at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, in which more than 100 people protested against a decision to hold graduation ceremonies online. Such ceremonies are often used as a way for students to express political views.
Some protesters had called for Hong Kong’s independence, and held up signs that read “Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of our times”. The signs were considered to have ‘secessionist notions’ and are outlawed under the city’s national security law.
Councillors among those arrested
Police said they arrested eight people for an unauthorised protest and for inciting secession. However, they did not confirm who they were or whether the arrests were related to the university protest.
University graduate Arthur Yeung, who also ran in the city’s district council elections last year, was thought to be one of those arrested. A post on Mr Yeung’s Facebook page said he was arrested at his home on Monday morning.
Two district councillors, Isaac Lee and Eason Chan, were also arrested, according to posts on their respective Facebook pages.
The eight arrested are currently being investigated by national security officers, according to local newspaper the South China Morning Post, which cited unnamed sources.
The arrests come as Hong Kong and Beijing have increasingly clamped down on dissent in the city, following Beijing’s imposition of a national security law in Hong Kong in June aimed at curbing months of political unrest and anti-government protests last year.
The crackdown has prompted accusations that Beijing is violating the autonomy it promised when the former British colony was returned to China in 1997. It also has triggered warnings that the ruling Communist Party is damaging Hong Kong’s appeal as a global business centre and one of Asia’s most dynamic cities.
We need your help ...
The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.
Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.
We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.
Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?