- A climate of fear has already descended on the city.
- Wong is accused of organizing an illegal demonstration in front of the Hong Kong Police headquarters on June 21 last year.
- Another prominent activist from the pro-democracy movement, Nathan Law, announced that he had left Hong Kong, fearing persecution.
Pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong implored the world today to stand in solidarity with Hong Kong after Beijing imposed its national security law that threatens freedoms in the territory. “We still have to let the world know that now is the time to stand with Hong Kong,” he told reporters.
Wong was addressing news reporters in front of the court where he is expected to appear with other activists because of his participation in last year’s pro-democracy protests. China’s new security law allows punishment for four types of crimes touching on state security.
Per Beijing, they include subversive activities, secession, terrorism, and collusion with foreign forces that endanger national security in Hong Kong. According to the new law, crimes against national security are now subject to life imprisonment in the territory.
A climate of fear has already descended on the city, with the law criminalizing, among other things, the popular slogan of the protests “Free Hong Kong, revolution of our time,” for having separatist connotations or calls for greater autonomy for Hong Kong.
For Joshua Wong, 23, a leading figure in the pro-democracy movement, who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018, Chinese officials “cannot ignore and silence the voice of the Hong Kong people.”
Wong said that “with the belief of Hong Kong people to fight for freedom, we will never give up and surrender to Beijing.” Joshua Wong spent three months in prison in 2019, and is accused of organizing an illegal demonstration in front of the Hong Kong Police headquarters on June 21 last year.
On Thursday, another prominent activist from the pro-democracy movement, Nathan Law, announced that he had left Hong Kong, fearing persecution. The day before, Law had participated remotely in a United States Congressional committee chaired by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
Calls for international solidarity have been taking place among the leaders of the former pro-democracy party, Demosisto, an organization its members decided to dissolve hours after the security law came into force.
Hong Kong returned to China in 1997 under an agreement that guaranteed the territory 50 years of autonomy and freedoms unknown to China, under the principle of “One country, two systems.”
Under the British-China agreement during the region’s hand over to China, during this 50 year time period, Beijing’s central government was supposed to be responsible for Hong Kong’s foreign relations and defense.
The United Kingdom is among the countries in the world that have strongly opposed China’s imposition of the new security law on Hong Kong, describing the move as unfortunate and a violation of the region’s citizens’ basic rights and freedoms.
“The enactment and imposition of this national security law constitute a clear and serious breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration,” UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the nation’s Parliament in reaction to the law’s passage.