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Hong Kong pro-democracy activist arrested

Hong Kong pro-democracy activist arrested

Hong Kong police arrested a pro-democracy activist Saturday on suspicion of attacking police after she tried to storm Chinese government offices during a New Year's Day protest.
Fellow activists questioned the arrest of 22-year-old Christina Chan, saying it may have been the result of pressure from Beijing as it tries curtail the Western-style civil liberties promised to the island's residents when the former British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997.
Chan's lawyer, Alan Wong, said Chan wasn't immediately charged and was released on bail. In Hong Kong, assaulting a police officer carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a fine of HK$5,000.
Thousands of demonstrators marched to Chinese government offices on the island on New Year's Day to demand an elected leader and legislature. Hong Kong's leader is currently selected by a committee stacked with Beijing loyalists and its 60-member Legislative Council is half elected, half chosen by interest groups.
Dozens of the protesters tried but failed to breach a police cordon guarding the Chinese liaison office.
A human rights activist who was monitoring the protest and a fellow demonstrator said they didn't see Chan attack any police officers, questioning if police acted under political pressure.
Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor Law Yuk-kai said 10 of his staff were at the protest and none saw Chan acting violently.
"The recent performance of the police gives the public reasonable grounds to question if they are politically neutral," Law said.
"How can a young girl attack police officers?" fellow protester and pro-democracy legislator Raymond Wong asked. "This is really out of line. They are seeking payback for a peaceful protest."
Law said the New Year's Day's protests were justified in trying to break the police cordon because police kept them at an unreasonable distance from the Chinese government offices _ across the street from its back entrance.
"They feel their right to protest has been infringed, so they help themselves," he said.
Chan rose to fame in Hong Kong for being one of the few pro-Tibet protesters when the Olympic torch for the Beijing Games passed through the city in May 2008.
The Hong Kong government didn't immediately respond to an e-mail from The Associated Press seeking comment.


Updated : 2021-09-20 05:08 GMT+08:00