Friday, December 15, 2023

Hong Kong offers rewards for anyone who finds campaigners for democracy

 Hong Kong police increased their controversial use of bounties to pursue pro-democracy activists in the name of national security by offering 128,000 HK$ in rewards for information on five dissidents living abroad.

In a briefing on Thursday, Li Kwai-wah, chief superintendent of the police's national security department, stated, "All of them, who have already fled overseas, have continued to commit offenses under the national security law that seriously endanger national security."

Li stated that the alleged offenses include conspiring with foreign forces to threaten national security and inciting secession and subversion. Li claimed that the five, which included well-known activists Simon Cheng, Frances Hui, and Joey Siu, betrayed their nation by calling for sanctions against officials from Hong Kong.

The bounties will probably add to worries that a crackdown on privileges under the China-forced security regulation is lessening Hong Kong's law and order, which for quite a long time has been an essential mainstay of its remaining as a worldwide monetary focus. Due to these concerns, the UK previously removed its top judges from the city's Court of Final Appeal.

Hong Kong is confronting a few difficulties to keeping up with its place as a worldwide center, part of the way because of China fixing its political hold. This week, financial policymakers from China are meeting with bankers in the city to find ways to make it more of an investment, deal, and talent hub.

When asked about the most recent bounty offers, Matthew Miller, a spokesman for the US State Department, told reporters in Washington that "we strongly condemn the egregious actions taken by Hong Kong authorities in announcing national security law changes and a new bounty list targeting democracy advocates overseas." Miller was referring to the bounty offers that had recently been made. That demonstrates flagrant disregard for democracy, human rights, and international standards."

The security law "has extraterritorial effect," according to a statement released on Thursday by the Security Bureau of Hong Kong, so "the police have the responsibility to pursue those who have allegedly committed offenses" outside of the city.

Eight overseas democracy activists received similar HK$1 million bounties in July. The move promptly attracted analysis from authorities the US, UK and Australia as an assault on the right to speak freely of discourse and a vote based system.

Back then, Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee stated that the activists "will be pursued for life" and urged the eight's loved ones to inform the police.

Individuals Hong Kong has put bounties on are probably not going to at any point get back to the city, making their possibility of capture an in the area near nothing. The individuals could be handed over to other jurisdictions by Hong Kong authorities.

People in Britain named in a Hong Kong national security case have been warned by the UK not to travel to countries that have extradition agreements with the Chinese territory.

China has been accused of putting pressure on Turkey to deport Uyghurs to China, and Thailand has previously caved in to Communist Party pressure to do so. Additionally, it appears that foreigners have been kidnapped by Chinese authorities. Gui Minhai, a bookseller from Hong Kong, was kidnapped in 2015 from his home in Thailand before reappearing in China.

Agnes Chow, an activist, declared earlier this month that she will not be returning to Hong Kong, eliciting a strong response from authorities. Lee stated that Chow was "a liar" and "a hypocrite," and that such activists would be "pursued for life unless they turn themselves in," despite the fact that she was granted bail despite being accused of violating a national security law.

Chow, 27, additionally gave subtleties on the things she needed to accomplish for the Hong Kong's clandestine public safety police to get her visa back. She was taken on an escorted trip into mainland China, where she was recorded expressing her gratitude for the country's accomplishments under the Communist Party, writing statements of disapproval to the police, and expressing her appreciation for the country's achievements.

China slammed US lawmakers last month over a bill that could close Hong Kong's three economic and trade offices in the US if the city isn't given much autonomy from Beijing.

The Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office Certification Act, also known as the bill, could result in the city's US-based trade offices losing their exemptions and immunity or being closed down completely.

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