Man Arrested for Holding Anti-Gov't Flag Under New Chinese Law

  • A man was arrested for holding a Hong Kong independence flag during demonstrations against a new Chinese law, according to police.
  • The National Security Law criminalizes secessionist activities in Hong Kong and gives China’s central government sweeping powers in enforcing the law.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke at a U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs hearing on Wednesday strongly condemning the new law.

A protester was arrested for holding a Hong Kong independence flag during pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong on Wednesday, according to police.

The man was arrested for violating the newly passed National Security Law, the Hong Kong Police Force announced on Twitter.

The law, which was unanimously passed Tuesday by the Chinese government, criminalizes secessionist, subversive and terrorist activities in Hong Kong, The Wall Street Journal reported.

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Police held signs during the protests announcing that Chinese authorities had the right to arrest anyone, including non-citizens, for violating the security law, according to pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong.

The law enables the Chinese government to supervise and intervene in the policing of alleged subversive activities in Hong Kong, according to The Journal.

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Ten people were arrested for breaking the new law during demonstrations in Hong Kong on Wednesday, said former member of Hong Kong’s legislative council Lee Cheuk Yan at a U.S. House Committee of Foreign Affairs hearing on Wednesday. More than 300 people were arrested in total on Wednesday, he added.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi made an appearance at Wednesday’s hearing condemning the security law.

“The law is a brutal, sweeping crackdown against the people of Hong Kong, intended to destroy the freedoms they were promised,” Pelosi said.

“Beijing’s so-called National Security Law signals the death of the one country, two systems principal.”

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“The Chinese Communist Party’s decision to impose draconian national security legislation on Hong Kong destroys the territory’s autonomy and one of China’s greatest achievements,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.

“The United States will not stand idly by while China swallows Hong Kong into its authoritarian maw.”

Meanwhile, the U.K. changed its immigration rules on Wednesday, giving millions of Hong Kong citizens a path to British citizenship, the BBC reported.

“[The National Security Law] violates Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy and threatens the freedoms and rights protected by the joint declaration,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said of the law, according to the BBC.

Tensions in Hong Kong spiked last year after Beijing passed an extradition law enabling the government to extradite Hong Kong residents to mainland China.

In response to the bill, hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong citizens participated in mass protests, which were some of the largest in Hong Kong history, according to The New York Times.

Wednesday marked the 23rd anniversary of the U.K. handing the territory over to China.

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