First arrests in Hong Kong; UK offers path to citizenship; ‘U.S. will not stand idly by’

by WorldTribune Staff, July 1, 2020

Hong Kong police on Wednesday made the first arrests for violations of the new national security law imposed on the formerly autonomous city by China’s communist government.

Police said the arrests were for “unauthorized assemblies.” The law went into effect on Tuesday after it was signed by Chinese supreme leader Xi Jinping.

Hong Kong police are carrying this banner warning protesters about the new security law. / Twitter

At least nine people were detained after being accused of violating the new law, including a man with a pro-independence flag. More than 300 others were detained at a banned rally.

Pro-democracy activists chanting slogans such as “Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong,” took to the streets on Wednesday, which marked the 23rd anniversary of the Hong Kong’s handover from the UK to China.

Reports noted that police were seen stopping pedestrians and conducting searches, and some were taken away. Water cannons, tear gas, and pepper spray were also used on the pro-democracy activists, reports say.

In a June 30 statement, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said:

The Chinese Communist Party’s decision to impose draconian national security legislation on Hong Kong destroys the territory’s autonomy and one of China’s greatest achievements. Hong Kong demonstrated to the world what a free Chinese people could achieve – one of the most successful economies and vibrant societies in the world. But Beijing’s paranoia and fear of its own people’s aspirations have led it to eviscerate the very foundation of the territory’s success, turning “One Country, Two Systems” into “One Country, One System.”

The CCP’s action demonstrates once again that Beijing’s commitments – in this case, the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration and the Basic Law – are empty words. The CCP promised 50 years of freedom to the Hong Kong people, and gave them only 23. Within the past few years, Beijing has also violated its agreements with the World Health Organization, the World Trade Organization, and the United Nations. This is a pattern the world cannot ignore.

The United States will not stand idly by while China swallows Hong Kong into its authoritarian maw. Last week, we imposed visa restrictions on CCP officials responsible for undermining Hong Kong’s autonomy. We are ending defense and dual-use technology exports to the territory. Per President Trump’s instruction, we will eliminate policy exemptions that give Hong Kong different and special treatment, with few exceptions.

The United States will continue to stand with the freedom-loving people of Hong Kong and respond to Beijing’s attacks on freedoms of speech, the press, and assembly, as well as the rule of law, all of which have, until now, allowed the territory to flourish. Today marks a sad day for Hong Kong, and for freedom-loving people across China.

Saying the imposition of the new security law on Hong Kong was a “clear and serious” violation of the 1984 Joint Declaration, the British government said it would offer around 3 million residents of the former colony a path to British citizenship.

“The enactment and imposition of this national security law constitute a clear and serious breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson told parliament on July 1.

Johnson said Britain would stand by its pledge to give British National Overseas (BNO) passport-holders in Hong Kong a path to British citizenship, allowing them to settle in the United Kingdom.

Hong Kong’s autonomy was guaranteed under the “one country, two systems” agreement enshrined in the Sino-British Joint Declaration signed by then Chinese Premier Zhao Ziyang and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

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