Shields raised and arms waved, a riot of riot police who acted against demonstrators in Hong Kong yesterday when China's crackdown on dissent began.
Hundreds of pro-democracy activists were rounded up in the first wave of arrests in connection with a draconian new security law.
Among them was a 15-year-old girl waving a flag calling for the independence of the former British territory. The police used water cannons, tear gas and pepper spray to drive the demonstrators back.
Beijing unveiled the details of the law Tuesday night after weeks of uncertainty, putting one of the most sparkling financial centers in the world on a more authoritarian path.
The riot police arrest a man as they release protesters who are rallying against a new national security law in Hong Kong on July 1, 2020, the 23rd anniversary of the city's handover from China to China
Pictured: A woman responds after being hit by pepper spray from the police when she cleared a street in Hong Kong on July 1, 2020 with demonstrators opposed to a new national security law
A protester uses a sharp object against a police officer who is trying to arrest a man (C) during a rally against a new national security law in Hong Kong
Pictured: Riot police march while demonstrators march against national security law in Hong Kong on July 1, 2020 to mark the anniversary of Hong Kong's handover from the UK to China
Protesters chant slogans during a rally against a new national security law in Hong Kong on July 1, 2020 to mark the 23rd anniversary of the city's handover from Britain to China. – The Hong Kong police made the first arrests under Beijing's new national security law on July 1 when the city greeted the anniversary of its handover to China with demonstrators fleeing water cannons
It came on the eve of the 23rd anniversary of Hong Kong's surrender to China and reverses the promises made to respect the freedoms of its citizens. The number of demonstrators was initially inferior to that of the riot police, and groups of officers were stationed at every major intersection. Then thousands came to defy tear gas and pepper pellets sprayed their way.
Police said ten were specifically arrested under the new security law. The first was a man with a flag that simply read: "Independence from Hong Kong". A woman holding a sign with the Union flag was also detained, while others were detained for "possession of objects that advocate independence". Around 370 people were arrested, among other things, for illegal gathering and gun possession.
The new law is considered Beijing's boldest step to bring the semi-autonomous territory under the control of the authoritarian mainland. It was developed following protests against the government last year and bans any measures that are considered to be against the national interest of China.
Pictured: A police officer raises his pepper spray gun as he arrests a man during a march against national security law on the anniversary of Hong Kong's handover to China from the United Kingdom in Hong Kong, China, on July 1, 2020
Pictured: The riot police (L) are using pepper spray against journalists (R) when demonstrators gathered in Hong Kong on July 1, 2020 for the 23rd anniversary of the city's handover from the UK to China for a rally against a new national security law
Whoever calls slogans or holds flags that demand independence is against the law, regardless of whether violence is used. Even driving a bus full of demonstrators could be considered illegal.
The most serious criminals are referred to as "terrorists", brought to the mainland and receive a maximum sentence for life in prison.
Some attempts will be made behind closed doors. A new police force that does not comply with local law has also been licensed to operate in the area. Beijing, not Hong Kong, will have power over how the law is interpreted.
Pictured: Helicopters with China's national flag and the Hong Kong SAR flag fly over Victoria Harbor during a ceremony to celebrate the 23rd anniversary of Hong Kong's return to China on July 1, 2020 in Hong Kong, China
Pictured: The riot police secure an area from a burning roadblock during a demonstration against the new national security law on July 1, 2020 in Hong Kong, China
Pictured: A line of riot police are seen in front of a water cannon vehicle during a march against the national security law on the anniversary of Hong Kong's handover to China from Britain on July 1, 2020 in Hong Kong, China
Police said an officer was stabbed in the arm by "rioters with sharp objects". They added that the suspects had fled and had not offered help to bystanders.
Before the protest, pro-democracy activist Tsang Kin-shing of the League of Socialists warned that there was "a great chance that we would be arrested".
He said: "The charge will not be easy, please judge for yourself."
Pictured: Pandemocratic legislator Eddie Chu Hoi-dick, vice congressor of the Hong Kong human rights front Figo Chan, and activist Leung Kwok-hung, also known as "Long Hair", march in Hong Kong, China, on the anniversary of Hong Kong's handover to China from the UK July 1, 2020
Pictured: Protesters sing slogans and gestures during a rally against a new national security law in Hong Kong on July 1, 2020, marking the 23rd anniversary of the city's handover from Great Britain to China
Pictured: Protesters take part in a protest against the new national security law in Hong Kong, China, on July 1, 2020
Pictured: A protester (center R) is arrested by police on July 1, 2020, the 23rd anniversary of the handover of the city from Great Britain to China, during a rally against a new national security law in Hong Kong. – The Hong Kong police arrested more than 300 people, including nine under China's new national security law, on July 1, when thousands opposed a protest ban on the anniversary of the city's surrender to China
A man who gave his name as Seth, 35, said, "I'm afraid to go to jail, but for justice I have to come out today, I have to get up." Media magnate Jimmy Lai said the law means Hong Kong it was & # 39; dead & # 39 ;. He added, "It's worse than the worst scenario imaginable. Hong Kong is completely subdued and completely under control."
72-year-old Lai, who also supported Tiananmen Square protesters in 1989, believes Beijing will come for him, but is unimpressed. "I can't worry because you never know what action you will take against me," he said.
Amnesty International said the new law was "a far-reaching threat to Hong Kong's freedoms." Asia Pacific Regional Director Nicholas Bequelin added: “With its vague language and secret trial provisions, handpicked judges and mainland security agencies operating freely in the city, the law is open to politically motivated people , moody and arbitrary interpretations by the authorities.
Pictured: Xie Feng, commissioner of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, speaks before a flag lifting ceremony in Hong Kong, China, on July 1, 2020, to celebrate the 23rd anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the motherland
Pictured: A person is arrested by riot police during a march against the national security law on the anniversary of Hong Kong's handover to China from the UK in Hong Kong, China, on July 1, 2020
Pictured: riot police officers nailing a protester during the demonstration. After the National Security Law, which would restrict freedom of expression, was passed, protesters from Hong Kong marched on the street to demonstrate. The demonstrators sang slogans, sang songs and blocked streets. Riot police later arrested several demonstrators with paintballs and pepper spray on July 1, 2020
"Hong Kongers are facing an attack by the Beijing authorities and Hong Kong government on freedoms they have enjoyed for a long time."
The United Kingdom has updated its travel advice to Hong Kong, saying it is "at increased risk of detention and deportation". It advised the British to "avoid protests and demonstrations". Political leaders across the spectrum have condemned China's action, which was quicker than expected.
But Rod Wye of the Chatham House think tank said Beijing would not bother because it takes advantage of global instability and opens up gaps between Western powers.
“The US and the EU are moving in different directions in many areas. It may be to China's advantage that this is so, ”he said.
"Expressions of concern will certainly not change the Chinese intentions at all."
Three million said: Come on Britain for coincidence of citizenship
Defense and security editor of the Daily Mail
Britain yesterday gave up to three million Hong Kong residents the opportunity to settle in Britain and eventually apply for citizenship in response to China's actions.
Boris Johnson accused Beijing of a "clear and serious violation" of the agreement, which was concluded in 1997 when the former British territory was surrendered.
Secretary of State Dominic Raab announced a new way for UK citizens (overseas) and their families to get visas to live and work in the UK before finally applying for citizenship.
Pictured: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks at the House of Commons in London on July 1, 2020 during the Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs). Britain opened a broader path to citizenship for Hong Kong residents on Wednesday in response to China's comprehensive new security law for the United States' former British territory
Questions and answers about Hong Kong's British Nationals Overseas (BNOs)
What is a British citizen (overseas)?
Hong Kong residents were able to register for this special status before the handover in 1997. You will receive a British passport, but no automatic right to live and work in the UK. You cannot apply to be a BNO.
How many of them are there?
In February there were 349,881 BNO passport holders. The government estimates that there are currently around 2.9 million BNOs in Hong Kong.
What does Britain offer them?
A path to citizenship. BNOs receive a five-year “temporary residence permit”. You can then apply for the status "completed". After 12 months with a permanent status, they can apply for citizenship. Your close family will also be eligible.
By February there were almost 350,000 BNO passport holders. The government estimates that around 2.9 million BNOs live in Hong Kong.
Mr. Raab accused Beijing of "strangulation" of Hong Kong's freedoms. The 1997 handover agreement promised 50 years of autonomy that allowed the city to thrive. “China does not keep its promises to the people of Hong Kong through this national security legislation. We will keep our promises to them, ”said Raab.
He informed MPs that BNOs would be granted a five-year temporary residence permit to work in the UK. You could then apply for resident status and apply for citizenship after 12 months. Mr. Raab said there would be no quotas for numbers.
The Beijing Security Act, which came into effect on Tuesday evening, punishes life-threatening activities against China's national interest.
Mr Johnson told MPs: "The enactment and introduction of this national security law is a clear and serious violation of the Sino-British joint declaration. It violates the high level of autonomy in Hong Kong and is in direct conflict with the Basic Law of Hong Kong Hong Kong.
“We have made it clear that if China continues along this path, we would introduce a new route for British nationals overseas to provide them with limited residence permits, with the opportunity to live and work in the UK and to move afterwards apply for citizenship – and that's exactly what we'll do. & # 39;
The new immigration regulations will be implemented "in the coming months," said the Federal Foreign Office. In the meantime, the government said BNOs could come to the UK after standard immigration controls.
Labor shadow foreign minister Lisa Nandy welcomed the move and urged Britain to investigate "police brutality" in Hong Kong.
The Foreign Secretary's permanent secretary, Sir Simon McDonald, yesterday asked Chinese ambassador to the UK, Liu Xiaoming, to underline objections to the legislation.
Lord Patten, Hong Kong's last British governor before the handover, described the new security law as Orwellian.
"Heaven knows how this affects journalists' ability to report on what's going on in Hong Kong," he told BBC Radio 4 & # 39; s World at One. He added, "You can lock up people, you can't lock up ideas." I still believe that belief in freedom and the rule of law will last longer than (President) Xi Jinping's extremely uncomfortable, dictatorial, totalitarian communism. "
Ex-Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith told MPs: "It is time to meet them in the place that China is interested in, its economy." He added: "We are running to China to buy and invest goods, it is time Now we can review every single program here in the UK and around the free world. We have a lesson on appeasing dictators 80 years ago learned, maybe that should be applied today. "
Downing Street warned Beijing that Britain's relationship with China was "not at all costs" and said Britain has "clear eyes" when it comes to its approach. The Prime Minister's spokesman said: "It has always been the case that if we have concerns, address them and where we need to intervene, we will do it."
IAN BIRRELL: The terrible destruction of Hong Kong's freedom is a victory for despots over democracy
The first arrested was a man who had clutched a black flag that said "Hong Kong Independence" in English and Chinese.
When dusk fell over the skyscrapers and ferries of one of the largest cities in the world, nine other demonstrators – including a 15-year-old girl and a woman with a British flag sign – had been confiscated under a strict new security law.
This draconian measure, secretly created by the leaders of the Communist Party in Beijing, is intended to curtail the freedoms that have made Hong Kong a special place. His sudden imposition marked a dark day for democracy with major global ramifications.
These protesters are now at risk of life imprisonment. They can be dragged into China's gloomy network of compliant courts and brutal prisons as President Xi Jinping gets a grip on the former British colony.
Nevertheless, thousands attended the territory's annual rally to celebrate the anniversary of its handover to China in 1997. Hundreds of demonstrators for democracy have been seized by the increasingly powerful police.
Crowds of people sang slogans like “Resistance to the End”, despite the fusil shop of pepper spray and pellets. One man admitted that he was afraid of going to prison, "but for justice I have to come out today, I have to get up."
This bravery is impressive, as I saw myself last year. I spent three weeks with these demonstrators amid the tear gas and truncheon accusations when citizens who had grown up in comparative freedom were fighting against the oppression of Communist China.
Pictured: China's President Xi Jinping voted at a closing session of the National People's Congress in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on May 28, 2020 on a proposal to draft a security law for Hong Kong. China passed the comprehensive national security law for Hong Kong on June 30, 2020
At a time when the West is so worryingly complacent about its own democracies, it was inspiring to meet demonstrators who were willing to risk anything to protect the freedoms that we take for granted.
Most were young, easy to get along with, and well educated. They admitted their fears and the likely futility to take over the power of the Chinese state with umbrellas and wok lids (to place over tear gas rounds). "What alternative do we have?" Asked one.
But it was also sad to speak to such youthful idealists, given the almost certain course of their struggle. "I will continue to fight because this is our home and we have to protect our freedoms at all costs," said an 18-year-old student, admitting that she was afraid.
When I asked another young woman why she took such risks, she told me about a visit to a Chinese city and a fine for jay walking, the money she got from her online bank account thanks to facial recognition she had crossed the street cameras. "Who wants to live in such a society?" She asked rightly.
These people wanted to avoid being drawn into a state that relies on oppression and technology to control a fifth of the world's population. Now they fear for their future, trapped in the straitjacket of Chinese Orwellian society.
The frightening new security law was secretly drafted, and even Carrie Lam, Hong Kong's dark and submissive leader, was kept in the dark – and then imposed on Tuesday.
Gestern löschten die Leute Social-Media-Konten, weil sie befürchteten, dass Familienmitglieder, die Kritik geäußert hatten, sie nicht wieder besuchen könnten, und fragten sich, ob sie eines Tages nach der absichtlich vagen Gesetzgebung in eine chinesische Zelle gebracht werden könnten.
"Wir müssen sehr vorsichtig sein, was wir sagen, da Sie keine Ahnung haben, was jetzt eine Straftat ist", sagte mir ein Aktivist. "Wir alle kennen die Konsequenzen, wenn wir nach China gebracht und zum Geständnis gezwungen werden."
Das neue Gesetz soll die Proteste beenden, die Anfang letzten Jahres explodierten und das Territorium erschütterten. Es gibt vier Hauptdelikte – Separatismus, Subversion, Terrorismus und Absprachen mit dem Ausland -, die es den Behörden ermöglichen, Dissidenten nach Belieben anzugreifen.
Die Maßnahme setzt chinesische Sicherheitsbehörden frei, um zum ersten Mal offen zu agieren, ermöglicht es den Gerichten, Fälle im Geheimen zu verhandeln, und gilt sogar für Ausländer, was die Befürchtung weckt, dass Kritiker bei der Einreise in das Hoheitsgebiet strafrechtlich verfolgt werden könnten.
Dieser Moment markiert den Tod des Abkommens „Ein Land, zwei Systeme“, das im Rahmen des Übergabepakts von 1984 mit Großbritannien vereinbart wurde und nach der Rückkehr Hongkongs nach China 50 Jahre lang aufrechterhalten werden soll.
Es zeigt deutlich, dass Peking unter Xi Jinping, seinem aggressiven nationalistischen Präsidenten, nicht vertrauenswürdig ist. Boris Johnson verdient Anerkennung für seine entschlossene Reaktion, drei Millionen Einwohnern die Möglichkeit zu geben, sich in diesem Land niederzulassen.
Diese Ereignisse unterstreichen unsere Naivität im Umgang mit China, insbesondere seit Xi 2013 die Macht erlangt hat. Immerhin hatte Peking seine Absichten vor sechs Jahren mit einem Weißbuch klargestellt, in dem es darauf bestand, dass es eine „umfassende Gerichtsbarkeit“ für Hongkong habe.
Doch zuerst dachten wir, der Handel würde die kommunistische Autokratie angreifen, dann hofften wir, dass das Internet die Diktatur zerstören könnte. David Cameron versuchte, sich mit Xi zu rühmen, mit Prahlereien einer „goldenen Ära“ und dem Gerede über die Unterstützung der „Erfüllung des chinesischen Traums“.
Im Bild: Hongkongs Geschäftsführerin Carrie Lam spricht während einer Pressekonferenz zum neuen nationalen Sicherheitsgesetz am 01. Juli 2020 in Hongkong, China
Aber wie diese Demonstranten in Hongkong nur allzu gut wissen – und trotz Chinas erstaunlichem wirtschaftlichen Aufstieg -, liefert Chinas Präsident seinen 1,3 Milliarden Bürgern einen dystopischen Albtraum, während er rasch militärische Stärke aufbaut und seine wachsende Macht entfaltet.
Anfang dieser Woche wurde bekannt, dass Peking ein Programm zur Zwangsabtreibung und Sterilisation muslimischer Minderheiten in Xinjiang zugelassen hat, die bereits einer 24-Stunden-Überwachung unterzogen wurden und von denen viele in Konzentrationslager geworfen wurden.
Ein Überlebender dieser schrecklichen Orte, die traditionelle Kulturen zerstören sollten, erzählte mir von erzwungenen medizinischen Behandlungen und schrecklichen Folterungen, die von Schlägen und Massenvergewaltigungen bis zu Geräten im mittelalterlichen Stil wie einem mit Nägeln besetzten Stuhl reichten.
China hat das digitale Zeitalter angenommen und dennoch Wege gefunden, die Bürger mit Technologie rücksichtslos zu kontrollieren.
Es wird sogar ein „Sozialkreditsystem“ geschaffen, um „negative“ Einstellungen zu vereiteln, das diejenigen davon abhält, sich an die strengen Diktate der besten Jobs, Schulen und Bahndienste zu halten.
Hongkong ist leider wahrscheinlich nicht mehr zu retten. Aber wir müssen uns der Auswirkungen bewusst sein, wenn die Welt in einen neuen Streit zwischen Autokratie und Freiheit im Kalten Krieg gerät.
Für Xi ist Taiwan der ultimative Preis – ein Leuchtfeuer der Demokratie vor Chinas Küste, einst Zuflucht für die von Maos Kommunisten besiegten Streitkräfte, die er mit seinem Mutterland „wiedervereinigen“ will.
Peking hoffte, dass die Unterstützung für eine „friedliche Vereinigung“ in Taiwan zunehmen würde, da die beiden Nationen wirtschaftlich eng zusammenwuchsen.
Jetzt hat das Vorgehen in Hongkong gezeigt, wie hohl seine Versprechen sind – die Unterstützung für China ist also nicht überraschend zusammengebrochen.
Diese schreckliche Niederschlagung von Hongkong, ungeachtet der Konsequenzen für eines der Finanzzentren der Welt, zeigt, dass Chinas leninistische Führung jede Hoffnung aufgegeben hat, Taiwan mit einem süßen Gerede über Freiheit zu verführen.
In der Zwischenzeit hat China gezeigt, dass es unverschämt Korallenatolle im Südchinesischen Meer einsetzen wird, um sein Gelände zu erweitern und indische Soldaten auf einem umstrittenen Himalaya-Berghang zu schlachten.
Wie wird der Westen reagieren, wenn China versucht, seinen Verbündeten Taiwan anzugreifen oder zu blockieren?
Wie ein Demonstrant in Hongkong zu mir sagte, ist dies ein langer Kampf zwischen Demokratie und Despotismus. "Wer weiß, wie es enden wird?", Fragte er.
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