China is ready to tackle Hong Kong ‘revolution’

In a statement, China has revealed that it is ready for any revolutionary activities that may be started by Hong Kong's pro-democracy activists. It maintains that the new Hong Kong law is a bid to restore peace and tranquility to the erstwhile chaotic city. It also cautions activists against a move disrupting law and order.

China Hong Kong revolution

China alleges Hong Kong democracy activists of trying to start a revolution as it warned some campaigning for recent primaries may have breached a tough new security law it imposed on the city.

The bellicose comments by the Liaison Office, which represents China’s government in the semi-autonomous city, heighten the risk of prosecution for opposition parties and leading figures.

China says ready for Hong Kong ‘revolution’

More than 600,000 Hong Kongers turned out over the weekend to choose candidates for upcoming legislative elections despite warnings from government officials that the exercise could breach Beijing’s sweeping new law.

Polls for the city’s partially elected legislature are due to take place in September.

Pro-democracy parties are keen to use seething public anger towards Beijing’s increasingly authoritarian rule to win a majority within a chamber that has always been weighted in favour of pro-establishment parties.

Control could give them a greater ability to stall budgets and legislation, one of the few tactics left open to the opposition camp.

Read more: Beijing responds to the West over Hong Kong: is it a zero-sum game?

But in a statement released late Monday, the Liaison Office described the primaries as “a serious provocation against the current election system”.

It said campaigning that pushed to take control of and paralyse the chamber is a breach of Article 22 of the security law.

Article 22 targets “subverting state power”. It outlaws “serious interference and obstruction” of the central and Hong Kong governments, or any act that causes them to be “unable to perform their functions normally”.

China on Hong Kong ‘revolution’: primaries are a serious provocation

China has described a primary by Hong Kong’s pro-democracy parties as a “serious provocation”, warning that some campaigning may have breached a tough new security law it imposed on the city.

“This is a serious provocation against the current election system,” the Liaison Office, which represents China’s government in the semi-autonomous city, said in a statement late Monday.

More than 600,000 Hong Kongers turned out over the weekend to choose candidates for upcoming legislative elections despite warnings from government officials that the event could breach Beijing’s sweeping new law.

Polls for the city’s partially elected legislature are due to take place in September.

Pro-democracy parties are keen to use seething public anger towards Beijing’s increasingly authoritarian rule to win a majority within a chamber that has always been weighted in favour of pro-Beijing parties.

Read more: China one-ups the West by passing Hong Kong law

Control could give them a greater ability to stall budgets and legislation, one of the few tactics left open to the opposition camp.

But in its statement, the Liaison Office said campaigning to take control of the chamber is itself a breach of the new security law.

“This is suspected of violating Article 22 of the national security law and other local election regulations,” the statement said.

Article 22 targets “subverting state power”. It outlaws “serious interference and obstruction” of the central and Hong Kong governments, or any act that causes them to be “unable to perform their functions normally”.

Beijing’s security legislation bypassed Hong Kong’s legislature and its contents were kept secret until the law was enacted at the end of last month.

It targets subversion, sedition, terrorism and foreign collusion with up to life in prison.

Under the law, China has claimed jurisdiction over some serious cases and allowed its intelligence apparatus to set up shop openly in the city for the first time.

China flays democracy activist in statement

The Liaison Office’s statement also singled out Benny Tai, a prominent democracy activist who played a leading role in organising the primary.

“The goal of the Benny Tai gang and the opposition camp is to seize power to govern Hong Kong, with a vain attempt to launch a Hong Kong version of a ‘colour revolution’,” the office said.

Colour revolution is a term used to describe multiple popular protest movements around the world that either swept a government from power or tried to.

Tai, a law professor, has previously been jailed for his involvement in peaceful pro-democracy protests in 2014.

On Tuesday, the Apple Daily newspaper published a column by Tai in which he hailed the primaries.

Read more: US tries to salvage lost pride over Hong Kong: imposes sanctions on China

“Threats from the powerful did not deter tens of thousands of citizens from coming out and casting a ballot,” he wrote.

“They have not given up on their determination to pursue democracy and universal suffrage.”

Apple Daily is owned by Jimmy Lai, one of the few tycoons in Hong Kong to openly support democracy. He is also being prosecuted for taking part in pro-democracy protests.

What is behind China’s fury?

Hong Kong has seen waves of pro-democracy demonstrations over the last decade.

But last year the city was convulsed by seven straight months of huge and often violent protests.

In response, Beijing imposed its security law in a bid to end the unrest once and for all.

The legislation bypassed Hong Kong’s legislature and its contents were kept secret until the law was enacted at the end of last month.

It targets subversion, sedition, terrorism and foreign collusion with penalties of up to life in prison.

Read more: Russia backs China in tussle with West over Hong Kong

But its phrasing — such as a ban on encouraging hatred of China’s government — has sent shockwaves through a city used to speaking its mind.

Those provisions have ended the legal firewall that existed between the Chinese mainland’s Communist Party-controlled courts and Hong Kong’s independent judiciary.

China says the Hong Kong legislation is needed to return stability after last year’s protests, which it has portrayed as a foreign plot to destabilise the motherland.

Opponents, including many Western nations, say the law has started to demolish the “One Country, Two Systems” model where China agreed to let the city retain key civil liberties, as well as legislative and judicial autonomy, until 2047.

AFP with additional input by GVS News Desk

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