Hong Kong to prosecute Canadian-based political activists under national security law — Radio Free Asia

Hong Kong authorities said on Wednesday they would prosecute three Canadian-based activists who recently announced they would create a parliament-in-exile in Hong Kong under a draconian national security law that applies across the country. world.

The city’s security bureau said it “severely condemns Yuan Gong-yi, Ho Leung-mau and Leung Chung-hang and others for forming a so-called ‘Hong Kong Parliament’ at the foreign”.

He said the activists are now suspects under section 22 of the law, which prohibits “subversion of state power”.

Forty-seven former opposition lawmakers and democracy activists are currently behind bars awaiting trial on the same charge for their involvement in a 2020 Democratic primary election aimed at maximizing opposition seats in LegCo .

Shortly after the primary, the government postponed LegCo elections and rewrote rules to require candidates to submit to vetting by a committee overseen by the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and security police. national, thus preventing any pro-democracy candidate from running.

“The Security Bureau calls on the public to dissociate themselves from individuals who violate Hong Kong’s national security law and the illegal activities these individuals have organized, in order to avoid bearing unnecessary legal risk,” said a spokesperson in a statement.

Yuan, Ho and Leung are part of a group that announced the plan for the parliament-in-exile in Canada on July 27, as well as plans to hold the first universal suffrage election at the end of 2023.

Leung, who is also known by the English names Baggio and Sixtus, was expelled along with five other newly elected members of the Legislative Council (LegCo) after China’s National People’s Congress declared their oaths of allegiance invalid in 2016.

Ho is a journalist and political talk show host, while Yuen is a news commentator.

Security guards prevent elected pro-independence lawmaker Baggio Leung from resuming his oath in the Legislative Council in Hong Kong, China November 2, 2016. Credit: Reuters

Expanded Immigration Eligibility

The announcement came after the UK government said it would widen the eligibility of Hong Kongers seeking to flee the current crackdown on dissent and settle in the UK, allowing young people more likely to be targeted for having taken part in the 2019 protest movement to apply for the British National. Overseas Visa Regime (BNO).

“The UK has a historic and moral commitment to the people of Hong Kong,” Home Secretary Priti Patel said via her official Twitter account on August 1.

“That’s why I’m extending our BN(O) journey to enable young people born after Hong Kong’s handover with at least one BN(O) parent to live, work, study and build their lives in the UK,” indicates the tweet. .

The changes will take effect in November 2022 and are expected to benefit around 10,000 young Hong Kongers.

Ngan Hei-yin, 19, is currently applying for political asylum in the UK, a much more difficult route to settlement who faces deportation if the application is rejected.

He told RFA that he would be eligible for the BNO route instead and would not need to wait for his asylum application to be approved.

But he said many of those seeking asylum would not meet the financial requirements of the visa, so could still be excluded for that reason.

“Some people who apply for political asylum receive government grants and don’t have a lot of assets,” Ngan said. “There should therefore be support measures to help them, if they want to apply for the BNO route.”

“I hope the government will provide support for them, as well as support to facilitate the integration and development of young Hong Kongers in the UK,” he said.

Paperwork in Taiwan

The BNO pathway requires applicants to show that they can support their own living expenses for at least six months, but few younger applicants would be able to do so.

Authorities on the democratic island of Taiwan have passed measures that will allow pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong to apply for citizenship five years after they applied for asylum in the country, the official state news agency reported. island (CNA) on July 30.

Under the program, Hong Kongers who entered Taiwan under the government-run “Hong Kong Humanitarian Aid Project” since June 2020 can obtain Taiwan citizenship after a stay of five years, the agency said citing sources.

Taiwan’s shelter program has been criticized by Hong Kongers on the ground as opaque and mired in bureaucratic gridlock, with departments failing to act together to ensure the program works for individual applicants.

Some applications from former government employees have been turned down amid growing fears of CCP infiltration on the island.

Some 11,000 Hong Kongers were granted residency permits in Taiwan last year, according to Taiwan’s National Immigration Agency, and 1,600 were granted permanent residency.

By contrast, the UK approved 97,000 applications under the BNO pathway last year.

Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.

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