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EXPLAINER: How a primary got Hong Kong activists in trouble

HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong democracy supporters are being locked up in jail, charged with being a threat to national security. Their arrests come under a new security law imposed on the...

3/1/2021 1:08:00 PM

Hong Kong democracy supporters are being jailed, charged with being a threat to national security . Here are some key questions and answers about their arrests that come under a new law that has largely silenced dissent in Hong Kong ,

HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong democracy supporters are being locked up in jail, charged with being a threat to national security . Their arrests come under a new security law imposed on the...

HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong democracy supporters are being locked up in jail, charged with being a threat to national security.Their arrests come under a new security law imposed on the semi-autonomous Chinese territory by Beijing that has largely silenced dissent in Hong Kong. China says the city needs stability after months of anti-government protests in 2019. Those now facing charges held a primary election for legislators picked through one of the last vestiges of direct democracy in Hong Kong.

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Some key questions about the arrests:HOW CAN A PRIMARY ELECTION THREATEN NATIONAL SECURITY?ADVERTISEMENTAuthorities say the primary was part of a plan to paralyze the government and undermine state power. The security law criminalizes attempts to subvert government, as well as secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign powers.

As evidence, police pointed to an opinion piece, “10 steps to mutual destruction,” that was published in the Apple Daily, a newspaper supportive of the democracy movement.Authored by Benny Tai, a veteran activist and former law professor, it mapped out a strategy that began with winning a legislative majority. Following that, opposition legislators would intensify protests, block the budget twice to force Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam to resign and back international sanctions against China’s ruling Communist Party.

The primary was an attempt to galvanize public support for pro-democracy candidates, though it’s unclear whether all the candidates agreed with Tai’s manifesto.WHO WAS ARRESTED?Police initially rounded up 55 people in January on suspicion of subversion. Of those, 47 were charged with that crime on Sunday. It’s unclear whether the other eight remain under investigation and will be charged in the future.

Those charged include former lawmakers and others who were candidates in the primary. It is by far the largest number of people targeted in a case so far under the national security law, which took effect last June.WHAT HAPPENED TO DEMOCRACY IN HONG KONG?

The pro-democracy faction was set to make gains in the 2020 legislative election and possibly even take a majority. The latter was an uphill battle, though, as only half of the 70 seats in the legislature are directly elected by voters. The rest represent various interest groups.

Lam scrapped the election, citing the risks of holding one during the coronavirus pandemic. Activists said the pro-Beijing majority feared losing seats.ADVERTISEMENTChina’s central government signaled last week that it may take steps to restrict who can run for office in Hong Kong. The city’s leader is selected by a China-controlled committee of 1,200 electors, and candidates must be approved by Beijing. However, a small percentage of those are drawn from directly elected district council members, and Beijing appears unwilling to continue allowing them to have a say in the selection process.

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Xia Baolong, director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, said Hong Kong could only be ruled by “patriots,” excluding those who lobby other countries for foreign sanctions and “troublemakers.”The electoral changes are expected to be discussed and possibly passed at the annual meeting of China’s National People’s Congress, which starts Friday.

Read more: The Associated Press »

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Never thought that we would hear that again after all the white terror. This shows that HKer will never surrender. Shame for HK government Shame for CCP 2.28 the darkest day in Hong Kong. CCP_is_Terrorist HongKongProtest StandWithHongKong FreeHongKong MilkTeaAlliance CCP is destroying Hong Kong! Running a primary election becomes a crime, only Hong Kong and CCP will happen. HongKongers never forget and forgive! StandWithHongKong FightForDemocracy FightForFreedom MilkTeaAlliance

It is really about eliminating democracy little by little. Just look back the past 5 years in HK and the same playroom happening elsewhere. Thank you! These candidates were just taking part in primary, no threat to national security. CCP is now occupying 🇭🇰illegally after breaking the joint declaration. We must restore 🇭🇰 sovereignty and StandWithHongKong

If HongKong fall, CCP will redefine democracy and freedom among the world. Serious, condemn is nothing to CCP, it is urged to propose concrete actions. Free world it’s time to consider how to fight against CCPthreat. Totally political persecution. The CCP and the puppet HongKong government can arrest everyone under the NationalSecurityLaw. HongKong is totally off and become the NewBerlin. OneCountryTwoSystemIsDead. Hope the free world can take actions! StandWithHongKong

Treason is a felony in any country! ThomasS67223527 Les chinois qui arborent des drapeaux anglais, leurs colonisateurs de longue date qui les ont empoisonné à l'opium pour les voler, l'avenir.🤮 Don’t think “it can’t happen here” already is Now it is clear that the National Security Law is mainly used to combat Hong Kong democrats, not to protect national security. In day one, ccp and bloodycarrie government are a liar. Please sanction them. CCP_is_terrorist HumanRightsViolations BoycottBeijing2022

They want British colonialism back! Opting for slavery? Under the British! I from India. Our India got independence from Britain when I 8 years old in grade school. Just imagine like these Hongkongers Indians wanting British Raj back? No way! Political prosecution is happening in Hong Kong. Freedom and human rights is deteriorating. HK became police state StandWithHongKong MilkTeaAlliance HKPoliceState

TomT88696910 Waduuuh...? Pendukung Demokrasi Hong Kong dipenjara..telah membungkam perbedaan pendapat di Hong Kong, In three words, another Myanmarcoup. Grandma Wong was arrested and detained in thuggish Communist China for ONE year. Thuggish CCP is a barbarian regime. HongKong DefendingHongKong FreeHK SOSHK HongKongPoliceTerrorists PoliceBrutal PoliceState HKers Save12HKYouths save12hkyouth BoycottChina CCP_is_terrorist FreePress AntiChinazi 香港人12人の若者を助けて 12홍콩인을구해주세요 12युवाओंकोबचाओ Save12 HumanRights

“Threat to national security”🤔🤔🤔Sounds familiar...must be the new trend to silence FreedomOfSpeech The primary is not the major issue, anything that Beijing dislike can be the trigger, in this case, having majority support from the people touched its nerve. Ironic flag on display They may silence decent but they can’t stop people thinking.

What else do you expect from a colony run by an evil dictatorship that has a hideous history of breaches of human rights, deplorable behaviour. All hail our leader China Hong Kong and democracy is immiscible. Well I'm sorry to my hong kong friends because currently Chinese puppet is sitting in white house who is not going to do anything against china