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8 pro-democracy activists pursued by Hong Kong government with remarks the warranties are ‘for life’.

On July 3, 2023, the Hong Kong Police’s national security department announced that they have issued 8 arrest warrants, with bounties of one million HKD, to 8 different self-exiled pro-democracy activists that are now settled around the world and most lobbying for Hong Kong-related policies. The list includes former democratic side lawmakers, such as Nathan Law and Ted Hui, alongside other activists like Anna Kwok, current Executive Director of the Hong Kong Democracy Council (HKDC) in the Us, under national security crimes like “Collusion with a foreign country or with external elements to endanger national security”, and ‘Incitement to secession’. The wanted can be sentenced to life-long imprisonment if arrested.

Hong Kong Government leader John Lee, in a press conference on July 4, 2023, responded to the questions on the warranties, stating that the 8 pursue d’s harming attempts on the Hong Kong Special Administrative Regions’ national security are serious crimes, which the government are looking to strictly enforce the national security laws, doing all they could that is lawful to ‘chase’ after these criminals ‘for life’, even if they flee to western countries, threatening that the only way for the pursued to end an anxious life, having to escape out of fear, is through surrender, which by case considerations the wanted will receive reduce penalties. Lee emphasised, in his speech, that the legal responsibility for their crimes will be life-long.

The 8 wanted are all currently working in foreign countries, in fields like lobbying to seek the continuation of pro-democracy work for Hong Kong. Nathan Law, a former youngest lawmaker who is currently self-exiled to the UK, told BBC after the announcement of the Hong Kong police that the warranty had caused increased fear for safety, saying that he will be more cautious about his whereabouts after the bounty. Dated back in July 2020, as the National Security Law was enacted, the young activist announced on social media that he had fled to London, criticising that the security law was eroding the city’s freedom.

Similarly, wanted labour unionist Mung Siu-tat responded to the bounty in an interview with RFA (Radio Free Asia), stating that he will not give up on going against the Chinese Communist Party’s authoritarian rules for Hong Kong, the 51-year-old activist said that he was prepared for this to come, and the Hong Konger’s dedication and courage will not be crushed easily, looking forward to continuing his advocacy works in the US.

Western states have responded to the bounties, criticising China’s and the Hong Kong government’s attempt to silence democratic voices, even when they are now overseas. The UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Secretary James Cleverly stated on July 3, 2023 shortly that the country will ‘always defend the universal right to freedom of expression and stand up for those who are targeted’, calling for Beijing and Hong Kong to stop targeting on activists standing up for freedom and democracy. Meanwhile, on the other side of the globe, Australia, where Ted Hui and Kevin Yam, two of the wanted, are currently, also responded quickly to the bounties, with the latest news on July 4, 2023 that the Liberal senator James Paterson, who is currently acting Shadow Foreign Affairs Minister, has urged Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to suspend and re-consider his China trip later this year. 


As more pro-democracy activist got bountied and wanted, countries have been more aware of the deteriorating freedom and political situations, perhaps concerns will last around for following years.

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Tags: #Democracy #HongKong #NationalSecurity


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