Hong Kong authorities on Friday issued arrest warrants for six pro-democracy activists who fled the city and are suspected of violating a national security law that came into effect on June 30.
According to CCTV, the six were wanted on suspicion of secession or colluding with foreign forces, crimes that the new law punishes with up to life in prison.
The six were named as Nathan Law, Wayne Chan Ka-kui, Honcques Laus, Samuel Chu, Simon Cheng and Ray Wong Toi-yeung. The Hong Kong police declined to comment.
Politics in Hong Kong is at a precocious state currently—on Friday, Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced that the legislative elections were postponed for a year and cited health concerns of the citizens for the same. Before this, it prevented Joshua Wong and 12 other pro-democratic leaders from contesting in the elections.
China on July 1, went ahead and passed the national security law that would undermine the city’s semi-autonomous state. As a result, nations including the US, the UK, Australia and New Zealand have revoked extradition agreements with Hong Kong. A pro-democratic leader Nathan Law has fled the country and pro-democracy activist and professor of law Benny Tai was voted out of Hong Kong University.
Wong feels the move showed that the Chinese government was afraid of the advocacy work of Hong Kong activists internationally, and wanted to pressure them.
“I think they want to cut off our connection with people in Hong Kong... it will make people fear that they may violate the national security law by contacting us,” he was quoted as saying in a Reuters report.
Nathan Law, who is currently in Britain, remained defiant. He said on Facebook the “wanted bulletins”, recent arrests, and mass disqualifications of pro-democracy activists from a now-delayed election are “indications of our need to remain active on the global stage”.
Passage of the law that is crushing personal freedoms is already prompting several people to flee overseas. Britain offered citizenship to Hong Kongers after the law was passed.
“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,” Wayne Chan, a pro-independence activist, was quoted as saying in a Reuters report.