HK Issues Arrest Warrant against Foreign Pro-Democracy Activist Samuel Chu
Hong Kong’s pro-democracy activists living in exile are now on the wanted list of Hong Kong police as China seeks to arrest campaigners living in foreign countries. American citizen Samuel Chu – who lives in the US, Nathan Law – a prominent campaigner who fled to the UK from Hong Kong, and Simon Cheng – a former British consular staffer living in the UK asylum after being tortured in China, along with three other activists have been issued arrest warrants by the Hong Kong police.
Chinese state media, calling them “troublemakers”, reported that the six men were wanted for “incitement to secession and collusion with foreign forces”.
Arrest warrants for the pro-democracy activists living overseas shows that exile or foreign nationality cannot protect the dissidents from the sweeping national security law imposed by Beijing. The national security law targets the crimes of “secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces” and carries penalties as severe as life in prison.
The move comes right after the Hong Kong government announced to delay the September-scheduled legislative elections to next year due to COVID-19 fear. The US and critics have criticised the move, calling it just a pretext that undermines democracy.
Samuel Chu, who runs the Hong Kong Democracy Council in Washington, tweeted, “Hong Kong police is targeting a US citizen for lobbying my own government. I might be the first non-Chinese citizen to be targeted, but I will not be the last.”
“If I am targeted, any American, any citizen of any nation who speaks out for HK can-and will be-too,” he added.
Samuel Chu’s Hong Kong Democracy Council is a Washington DC-based advocacy organisation dedicated to furthering Hong Kong’s freedom and democracy. He is the first foreign person to be targeted under the new national security law.
Living in the US and being a citizen of America since 1996, Samuel Chu said the charges amounted to China “targeting a US citizen for lobbying my own government”.
“We always knew that when the national security law went into effect there was a very troubling and illogical, irrational idea that they were claiming jurisdiction over anyone who is not even a Hong Kong resident, who is anywhere in the world, doing anything that they deemed threatening,” he added.
Following the imposition of national security law, countries like the UK, Germany, Australia and Canada have suspended their extradition treaties with Hong Kong. The US, on the other hand, revoked Hong Kong’s special economic status last month.
Earlier this week, Hong Kong police arrested four students for “inciting secession” on social media. The students were believed to be linked to a pro-independence group.
Apart from Samuel Chu, Nathan Law and Simon Cheng, three other pro-democracy activists are Ray Wong, Lau Hong and Wayne Chan. Ray Wong had fled to Germany in 2017, but is in the UK now.
Lau Hong, who is 18-year-old pro-democracy activist living in the UK, came into prominence in 2017 when he brandished a pro-independence banner next to Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam.
“Come arrest me in the UK. I am not worried. The British government and MPs have been supporting pro-democracy protests. If the Hong Kong government breaks the law in the UK, it would be sanctioned quickly,” Hong said to a journalist.
Another pro-democracy activist Wayne Chan, who is in an undisclosed country, spoke to a news agency, saying, “For me, the situation faced by Hong Kongers is even more dangerous than what I face. I can’t think too much about my personal safety.”
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