Hong Kong police have issued arrest warrants for six pro-democracy activists living in exile, and the first time city authorities have used a new law to target campers living outside Hong Kong.
They include Samuel Chu, a U.S. citizen living in the United States, Nathan Law, a prominent campaigner who recently moved to the United Kingdom after fleeing Hong Kong, and Simon Cheng, a former British consular staff who received asylum in the United States. UK after alleging he was tortured in China.
Chinese state media reported that the six men were wanted for “incitement to secession and collusion with foreign forces.”
The move comes a month after China introduced a controversial national security law in Hong Kong. China said the legislation targets crimes of “secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces” and that it applies sentences as severe as life in prison.
Critics warned that it would be used to lead the legitimate opposition and highlighted the unusual decision to make the law applicable to both Hong Kong residents and non-residents. Apparently, this gives China jurisdiction beyond its own borders.
Chu, who heads the Hong Kong Democracy Council, a Washington DC-based advocacy organization dedicated to promoting Hong Kong’s freedom and democracy, is the first target person in this aspect of the law.
He said China was sending a clear message to other activists ordering his arrest.
“I would emphasize the real outrage that this is,” Chu told the Guardian. “I am the first non-Chinese citizen to have an essential goal. I think they intend to try to make this an example.”
Since then, several countries have suspended their extradition treaties with Hong Kong, including the United Kingdom, Australia and Germany, as a possible safeguard against attempts to use national security laws to round out activists abroad. The United States ordered the end of Hong Kong’s special economic state in early July.
Chu, who has lived in the United States as a U.S. citizen since 1996, said the charges were from China “directed at a U.S. citizen to put pressure on my own government.”
“We always knew that when the national security law came into force, there was a very restless and illogical irrational idea that claimed jurisdiction over anyone who is not even a Hong Kong resident, who is anywhere in the world. , doing anything they said is threatening, “he said.
HK police are targeting a U.S. citizen to put pressure on my own government. I might be the first non-Chinese citizen to be targeted, but I won’t be the last. If I am oriented, any American citizen of any nation who speaks of HK can be and will be.
We are all Hong Kong now. pic.twitter.com/KQYGcStY1e
– Samuel Chu Zhu Shenmin (@samuelmchu) July 31, 2020
The other activists charged were Ray Wong, Wayne Chan and Honcques Laus.
Wong, who is currently in the UK, told Reuters that the charges showed that the Chinese government was afraid of the advocacy work of Hong Kong activists internationally.
“I think they want to sever our connection with the people of Hong Kong … it will make people fear that they may violate national security law by contacting us,” Wong said.