[Last update: January 6, 2021 at 17:30]
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Hong Kong’s authorities Wednesday morning (Jan. 6) moved to further crush the city’s pro-democracy camp, arresting at least 50 politicians and activists.
The Hong Kong police have arrested 53 prominent figures who were involved in the pro-democracy primary that took place ahead of the later postponed Legislative Council election last year, reports said. They are reportedly accused of subversion under the city's new national security law, an offense that carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
The city’s Democratic Party said at least seven of its former legislators were arrested in the morning, including Roy Kwong (鄺俊宇), Wu Chi-wai (胡志偉), Lam Cheuk-ting (林卓廷), Andrew Wan (尹兆堅). Their former colleagues at the Legislative Council, Kwok Ka-ki (郭家麒), Eddie Chu (朱凱廸), and current district councilor Gary Fan (范國威), were also arrested.
【即時】前立法會議員涂謹申、尹兆堅、林卓廷今早被警方國安處上門拘捕，指去年立法會選舉 35+ 涉嫌顛覆國家政權罪。仍在了解其他黨友的情況。 0700 更新：剛確認胡志偉已被捕。 0723 更新：剛確認鄺俊宇、黃碧雲亦已被捕。 0811...Posted by 民主黨 The Democratic Party on Tuesday, 5 January 2021
Former scholars at the University of Hong Kong — Benny Tai (戴耀廷) and Robert Chung (鍾庭耀) — were arrested. A number of district councilors and pro-democracy activists were apprehended as well.
"The sweeping arrests of pro-democracy demonstrators are an assault on those bravely advocating for universal rights,” tweeted Antony Blinken, U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee for the secretary of state. “The Biden-Harris administration will stand with the people of Hong Kong and against Beijing’s crackdown on democracy.”
The sweeping arrests of pro-democracy demonstrators are an assault on those bravely advocating for universal rights. The Biden-Harris administration will stand with the people of Hong Kong and against Beijing’s crackdown on democracy. https://t.co/nSj8dr3OEg— Antony Blinken (@ABlinken) January 6, 2021
Taiwanese government officials have also expressed concern over the latest developments in Hong Kong. “China’s crackdown on democracy will not be ignored by the world,” tweeted Vice President Lai Ching-te (賴清德), who called the mass arrests “unacceptable.”
China’s crackdown on democracy will not be ignored by the world. More than 50 prominent democratic advocates were arrested today in Hong Kong. This is unacceptable, HKers’ rights are human rights.— 賴清德Lai Ching-te (@ChingteLai) January 6, 2021
“The mass arrest in #HongKong comes as a deep shock to those who treasure freedom,” said Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) via Twitter. “The free world must unite against authoritarianism: No more room for ambiguity,” he added.
The admin of prominent activist Joshua Wong's (黃之鋒) Facebook page disclosed that Wong’s residence had been raided early Wednesday morning by police, who searched it for nearly 1.5 hours. Wong was jailed last month for organizing an unauthorized assembly and for inciting others to take part in the event, and it is not yet clear whether Wong is now under investigation under the national security act.
【警方搜查黃之鋒住所 指黃涉嫌違反《國安法》】 編輯：警方今晨以涉嫌違反《國安法》為由，到黃之鋒住所搜查近1.5小時。由於黃之鋒目前正在石壁監獄服刑，或有可能在獄中被警方調查，律師團隊目前正在跟進，如有消息會再作公佈。Posted by 黃之鋒 Joshua Wong on Tuesday, 5 January 2021
Journalist-turned-politician Gwyneth Ho’s (何桂藍) Facebook admin confirmed her arrest on suspicion of violating the security law. Ho was one of the candidates in the primary election last year.
“The way autocracy thinks is terrifying,” tweeted Nathan Law (羅冠聰), former chairman of the city’s political group Demosistō. “The world has to react and hold the CCP accountable,” added Law, who has been living in exile in the U.K. since July and is wanted by the Hong Kong government on charges related to the security law.
Hong Kong's national security law, which went into effect in June, criminalizes activities the government deems constitute secession, subversion, or collusion with foreign powers. The broadly defined legislation has been criticized as a tool used by Beijing to quash the city's democracy movement.