Hong Kong police arrest 6 dissidents for 'seditious' social media posts under new CCP-backed security laws

Hong Kong national security police arrested six people on Tuesday for seditious intent over social media posts, marking the first arrests after the enactment of its new security laws.

The security laws were passed by Hong Kong's pro-Beijing legislature in March despite pushback from countries such as the United States, per Reuters. They expand on the national security law imposed by Beijing in 2020 and cover treason, sedition and state secrets, BBC reports.

Security Secretary Chris Tang reported that the detainees were suspected of using Facebook to "advocate hatred" against the Hong Kong and Chinese governments and the judiciary, per Reuters. In 1997, China regained control of Hong Kong, which was previously a British colony.

Tang said that one of those arrested was a prominent pro-democracy barrister named Chow Hang-tung who has been detained since September 2021 at a maximum security prison. A statement read that she is alleged to have enlisted the help of the 5 others arrested to anonymously "publish posts with seditious intent" surrounding an "upcoming sensitive date" and that the defendants had an "intention of inciting netizens to organise or participate in illegal activities in a later period."

These arrests come just ahead of the 35th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre which took place June 4, 1989. Local sources have said that this is the "sensitive date" the statement references.

Tang did not name the other 5 detainees but police said they are between the ages of 37 and 65. Their alleged offense carries a maximum jail sentence of 7 years.

"Those intending to endanger national security should not delude themselves into thinking they can avoid police pursuit by remaining anonymous online," the statement said of the posts, which had been published to social media since April.

Amnesty International said the arrests were a "shameful attempt at suppressing peaceful commemoration of the Tiananmen crackdown" and called for thee immediate release of the detainees.

Image: Title: xi chow