U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made several criticisms over the weekend of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), following the arrest of four former members of the pro-independence student group in Hong Kong under the new national security law recently imposed.
According to the independent Hong Kong Free Press, the former coordinator of the Hong Kong Student Localism group was one of the four arrested on suspicion of inciting separation under the new national security law. The 19-year-old leader, Tony Chung, was arrested by national security agents at his home. The former spokesman of the group, Ho Nok-hang, and two other members met the same fate.
Chung’s arrest represents the first time that a political figure has been arrested under the controversial legislation that criminalizes subversion, separation, terrorism, and complicity with foreign powers.
A tweet from the Hong Kong Police quickly went viral, reporting, “Three males and one female, aged 16-21, who claimed to be students, have been arrested for breaching the #NationalSecurityLaw. They were suspected of secession by advocating #HKIndependence. Investigation is underway.”
#Breaking: Three males and one female, aged 16-21, who claimed to be students, have been arrested for breaching the #NationalSecurityLaw. They were suspected of secession by advocating #HKIndependence. Investigation is underway. #Hongkong
— Hong Kong Police Force (@hkpoliceforce) July 29, 2020
At a press conference, the chief superintendent of the new national security department of the police force, Steve Li, said the three young students were arrested based on the content of their social networking accounts. According to the statement, the publications made by the young people suggest that they would use all means to establish an independent Hong Kong republic and unite all pro-independence political groups.
According to Li, the police based the arrests on such content from the defendants’ social media accounts, the postings were made after the enactment of the security law, although she did not indicate which group or postings were involved.
Pompeo has repeatedly disagreed with the security law imposed by the CCP, even before its enactment.
Over the weekend, Pompeo repeatedly condemned the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for postponing the Hong Kong elections, originally scheduled for Sept. 6, and using new police anti-democracy protest tactics to represent “egregious abuses of the human rights of its own citizens.”
In his Twitter account, Pompeo wrote on Sunday, “We are gravely concerned by the arrests of four students in Hong Kong under the new National Security Law and by the disqualification of pro-democracy electoral candidates. Beijing continues to break its promises and eviscerate Hong Kong’s autonomy.“
We are gravely concerned by the arrests of four students in Hong Kong under the new National Security Law and by the disqualification of pro-democracy electoral candidates. Beijing continues to break its promises and eviscerate Hong Kong’s autonomy.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) August 2, 2020
Officials cited public health concerns related to the CCP virus, for postponing the election but pro-democracy groups and Pompeo have accused the CCP of trying to undermine opposition candidates who support Hong Kong’s autonomy.
In a press release issued Saturday by the White House, Pompeo said, “The elections should be held as close to the September 6 date as possible and in a manner that reflects the will and aspirations of the Hong Kong people. If they aren’t, then regrettably Hong Kong will continue its march toward becoming just another Communist-run city in China.”