China’s plan for national security in Hong Kong puts pro-democracy activists, including pastors and religious leaders, at risk of being extradited and tried in mainland China, warns a watchdog of Christian persecution.
On Friday, China passed a draft of the new national security laws, targeting four new levels of criminal offenses in Hong Kong, including succession, subversion of state power, local terrorist activities, and collaboration with foreign forces o foreign to jeopardize national security. .
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“Under those laws, Hong Kong vocal clergy who have supported the Hong Kong democratic movement, such as Cardinal Joseph Zen and Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Ha Chi-shing, could be extradited to mainland China for trial, as Beijing it considers threats to the regime, “International Christian Concern (ICC), a Christian watchdog based in the United States, said in a statement.
“Hundreds of other Protestant leaders or Christian organizations that have actively spoken out against the Hong Kong government could face the same fate, as Beijing has said it views the mass protests that began last June as terrorist acts and any calls for independence. Hong Kong of China as acts of sedition. “
Hong Kong Pastor Alan Keung, 28, joined a protest that turned violent and offered himself as a doctor. With the “pastor” written in English and Chinese on his helmet, he offered prayer and attention to the injured protesters, policemen.
“I am not someone who just stays in church and talks about humanity, justice and morality, and ignores what is happening on the front line,” he told Reuters in November. “This is not what I want to do. I want to show my company on the front line and be in the crowd when they need me. “
China has been pushing to extend its scope of security to Hong Kong after two years of pro-democracy protests in the city, and wants to create a new national security office in Hong Kong.
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The Chinese government is trying to enforce Article 23 of the Basic Law which says that Hong Kong “will enact laws on its own to prohibit any act of treason, secession or sedition. [or] subversion against the Central People’s Government. “The law was created after the British handed over semi-autonomous territory to mainland China in 1997, from the previous colonial rule.
Local protests in Hong Kong have impeded law enforcement, but Chinese authorities said last month that the laws would be enacted “without delay.” The new national security laws could establish a police unit to enforce the new laws, along with the placement of the secret police in Hong Kong.
“China’s notorious legal system and its lack of transparency can easily criminalize anyone and put them in jail,” warns ICC. “Many Chinese pastors and Christians, such as Pastor Wang Yi, Elder Qin Derfu, Pastor John Cao, are now imprisoned on false charges, such as’ subversion of state power ‘,’ illegal border crossing ‘and’ illegal commercial operation. “
United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has openly criticized China’s attempt to usurp security powers in Hong Kong and said in late May: “Hong Kong no longer enjoys a high degree of autonomy.”
The G7 issued a statement condemning China’s decision to impose national security on Hong Kong.
The group made up of ministers from the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the high representative of the European Union said that China’s efforts seriously jeopardize the peace and success of Hong Kong.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry “strongly” rejected the statement, saying: “China’s determination to promote the national security law in Hong Kong is unshakable.”
The Hong Kong legislature has already passed a bill making it illegal to insult the Chinese national anthem. Several leaders of the opposition party have been arrested after participating in protests.
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“Our long march towards democracy will be forced into a prolonged period of repression,” Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong said Thursday at an online democracy event, adding that opposition to the law “could be my last testimony. ” [while] I’m still free. “
The UK and Taiwan have established an office specifically to assist people trying to leave Hong Kong if the new laws are implemented.
Fox News’ Caitlin McFall contributed to this report.