From CCP Media
A motorcyclist was brought before court on suspicion of violating the national security law for Hong Kong on Friday afternoon.
This marks the city’s first prosecution under the newly-promulgated law, which came into effect on June 30.
The man, alleged to have driven a motorcycle displaying a flag saying “liberate Hong Kong” and charged toward police officers on July 1, was accused of a terrorist attack and inciting others with a view to committing secession.
Earlier on the same day, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor designated six magistrates as judges to handle cases and appeals in relation to the national security law.
Shouting ‘Liberate Hong Kong’ is punishable by law
The writing’s on the wall for protesters — the next time they chant their favorite slogan, “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times”, they probably won’t be able to get away with it.
Political and business leaders have thrown their weight behind the special administrative region government’s stand that such a rallying cry connotes separatism or subversion proscribed by the Hong Kong national security law now in force.
The comments came after the government said on Thursday these slogans imply Hong Kong independence, separating the HKSAR from China, altering the city’s legal status, or subverting State power.
The government said such acts challenge the nation’s sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity, and urged residents not to defy the national security law, which came into effect on Tuesday. The legislation criminalizes secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with foreign or external forces to endanger national security.
The police arrested 370 people staging illegal and violent protests on Wednesday as Hong Kong marked the 23rd anniversary of the handover. Ten of them are suspected to have violated the city’s national security law by displaying flags and banners carrying slogans that advocate Hong Kong independence.
Maria Tam Wai-chu, deputy director of the Basic Law Committee under the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, on Friday voiced support for the government’s stance that these slogans insinuate secessionist or subversive intent.
“When you talk of liberation, in Chinese, it means that if you have a piece of land that was seized by somebody else, you want to take it back. That’s what ‘liberation’ means,” she said in a television interview.
Tam also rejected claims that the government is trying to spread “white terror” by declaring such slogans illegal. It only serves to remind people not to commit acts of secession or subversion, she said.
Vincent Lee Kwan-ho, a Hong Kong deputy to the National People’s Congress, the nation’s top legislature, said he fully supports the government’s crackdown on any move with subversive or separatist aims.
He explained that it does not necessarily mean that all slogans with the words “liberation” or “revolution” indicate secession, adding that everything should be seen in the overall context.
“If people say the city should stage a revolution against the banking system or the government’s housing policy, they won’t be arrested,” said Lee, who’s also an independent non-executive director of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing, which runs the city’s bourse.
Businessman Huang Hsiao-feng agreed that the protesters’ slogans tend to incite a riot.
“In Chinese, ‘liberation’ connotes recovering a fallen nation, or rightfully restoring lost land. These words wrongfully suggest that Hong Kong does not belong to the nation, which doesn’t make any sense,” he said.