Arrests connected to protests in May . . .
On Sunday, Hong Kong police arrested seven opposition politicians on suspicion of contempt and interference with the city’s Legislative Council officers in connection with a violent clash in the legislature building in May. An additional arrest was made on Monday. The police said the arrests are part of an investigation of an incident on May 8, when pro-democratic legislators attempted to block a pro-establishment politician's appointment to the chair of a key committee. While the police said that there might be more arrests, so far, no pro-establishment politicians involved in the incident have been arrested. The police deny there was any political motive behind the arrests.
Fleeing activists . . .
With Beijing cracking down on opposition pan-democrat politicians in Hong Kong since the implementation of the National Security Law in June, many activists have chosen to flee the city. Most recently, Tony Chung, a former leader of a pro-independence student group, was planning to claim asylum upon entering the U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong. However, police arrested him opposite the consulate and charged him with several crimes, including secession, money laundering, and conspiring to publish seditious content. The U.S. State Department warned activists that they can only seek asylum from within the U.S.
Granting asylum to Hong Kong refugees . . .
In response to Beijing’s widening crackdown, several countries – including Canada, Britain, and Germany – have offered refuge to fleeing Hong Kong residents. Britain, for instance, has pledged to create a special class of visa that allows British National Overseas (BNO) passport holders and their families to work and study in the United Kingdom for five years, at which point they can apply for British citizenship. The application for BNO visas is set to open on January 31. According to an official estimate, more than a million Hong Kongers could relocate to the U.K. in the next five years. Canada recently granted refugee status to a Hong Kong couple who were active protesters, as reported by the Globe and Mail. Beijing has warned other countries that granting asylum to Hong Kong protesters constitutes an interference in China’s domestic affairs.
- Globe and Mail: Canada begins accepting Hong Kong pro-democracy activists as refugees
- The New York Times: 8 Pro-Democracy politicians arrested in Hong Kong overheated meeting
- Nikkei Asia: Hong Kong asylum seekers turned away by US Consulate