Hong Kong, 8 people arrested for protests at Chinese university

Those arrested, including two district councillors, shouted slogans and displayed independence banners. Acts in support of secession are punished by Beijing's security law. The bank accounts of Ted Hui, a former Democrat MP who is seeking refuge in Great Britain, are frozen.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The National Security Department police today arrested eight people for their alleged participation last month in an anti-government demonstration on the campus of the Chinese University of Hong Kong (Cuhk).

The news was posted on the Facebook pages of three of those arrested: district councillors Eason Chan and Issac Lee, and Arthur Yeung, research assistant at the University's Centre for Urban Sustainability.

On November 19, about 100 CUHK students demonstrated peacefully against the university authorities' decision to carry out their graduation ceremony online. Protesters displayed independence flags and banners, shouting slogans in favour of the independence of the former British colony.

The following day, the police showed up on the university campus and collected evidence for an investigation, including closed-circuit images of the demonstrators. Beijing's national security law sanctions those who praise Hong Kong's independence. The provision prohibits and punishes acts and activities of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces that endanger national security. But its interpretation seems to be so broad that it affects freedom of opinion, of the press and of assembly.

The most recent to pay the price is Ted Hui Chi-fung. The former Democrat MP has chosen self-imposed exile in Great Britain; he is accused of having participated in last year's protests and in a demonstration against the Tuen Mun police station, which took place on 6 July. Police revealed yesterday that Hui is being investigated for violating the security law and confirmed that part of his bank accounts have been frozen.