IL Newswire

Surge in Political Crackdowns in Hong Kong


Pro-independence lawmakers Sixtus Leung and Yau Wai-ching speak to the media outside a police station in Hong Kong on Wednesday. Nine other democracy activists have now been arrested. Photograph: Kin Cheung/AP

Pro-independence lawmakers Sixtus Leung and Yau Wai-ching speak to the media outside a police station in Hong Kong on Wednesday. Nine other democracy activists have now been arrested.
Photograph: Kin Cheung/AP


Several pro-democracy activists have been arrested in Hong Kong following anti-government protests. The arrests yesterday as a result of a raid come just several days after political prosecution of pro-independence lawmakers. Human Rights Watch reports that these 11 arrests signal a cause for concern for potential crackdowns of political opposition. 

"'The Hong Kong government is speeding up prosecutions against activists to wipe out the influence of the opposition camp ahead of president Xi’s expected visit to Hong Kong on 1 July,' said Joshua Wong, founder and general secretary of Demosisto."

The China director for Human Rights Watch Sophie Richardson stated, "Prosecution as persecution seems to be the new norm for the treatment of Hong Kong's pro-democracy activists". 

The protests in question leading to the arrest of these activists took place in November of 2016. The United Nations Human Rights Committee has underlined Hong Kong's mandates regarding protests to be particularly inhibitive to basic rights. These arrests raise the question of whether or not Hong Kong, approaching the 20th anniversary of its handover, will move towards or away from democracy.