Hong Kong police have issued an arrest warrant for six pro-democracy activists living in exile, and for the first time, city officials have applied a new law targeting campaigns outside Hong Kong.
Among them are Samuel Chu, an American citizen living in the United States, Nathan Lowe, a well-known agitator who recently moved to Britain after fleeing Hong Kong, and Simon Cheng, a former British consulate staff member who was granted asylum in the UK after being tortured. China.
Chinese state media reported that six men were wanted for “inciting secession and conspiracy with foreign forces.”;
The move comes a month after China introduced a controversial national security law in Hong Kong. China has said the law targets crimes of “secession, sabotage, terrorism and conspiracy with foreign forces” and carries punishments as severe as life in prison.
Critics have warned that this will be used to target the legitimate opposition, and stressed the unusual decision to pass a law that applies to both Hong Kong residents and non-residents. This obviously gives China jurisdiction beyond its own borders.
Chu, who chairs the Hong Kong Democracy Council, a Washington-based advocacy organization dedicated to promoting Hong Kong freedom and democracy, is the first person to focus on this aspect of the law.
He said China had sent a clear message to other activists ordering his arrest.
“I would very much emphasize how outrageous this really is,” Chu said. “I am the first non-Chinese citizen who is essentially targeted. I think they intend to try to set an example. “
Since then, several countries have suspended extradition treaties with Hong Kong, including Britain, Australia and Germany, as a possible safeguard against attempts to use national security laws to secure activists abroad. The United States began ending Hong Kong’s special economic status in early July.
Chu, who has lived in the United States as a U.S. citizen since 1996, said the charges were made in China, “aimed at a U.S. citizen for lobbying my own government.”
“We have always known that when a national security law comes into force, there is a very disturbing and illogical, irrational idea that they demand jurisdiction over anyone who is not even a Hong Kong resident who is anywhere in the world, doing whatever they want. is considered threatening, “he said.
Other activists accused included Ray Wong, Wayne Chan and Gonkk Los.
Wong, who is now in the UK, told Reuters that the allegations showed that the Chinese government feared the advocacy work of Hong Kong activists internationally.
“I think they want to cut off our contact with the people of Hong Kong … it will make people fear that they might break the national security law by contacting us,” Wong said.