Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival: Police arrest protesters

Bangladesh Live News | @banglalivenews | 27 Jun 2020

Hong Kong: Amid growing tension over the new law, the Hong Kong police on Thursday dispersed dozens of protesters who had assembled at the Yuen Long shopping centre to mark the Chinese Dragon Boat Festival holiday, media reports said.

Police said seven males and five females were arrested for “Unlawful Assembly” in Yuen Long.

"Seven males and five females aged 14 to 55 have been arrested for 'Unlawful Assembly' in #YuenLong for staging a #HKprotest in a shopping mall and harassing families and shoppers on #DragonBoatFestival," the police tweeted.

Hong Kong has been witnessing protests since 2019 with protesters claiming to oppose China's increasing influence on the special administrative region.

Meanwhile, the repression of “fundamental freedoms” by the Chinese Government prompted nearly 50 UN independent experts on Friday to express their continuing alarm, urging the country to “abide by its international legal obligations”.

After having “repeatedly communicated” their concerns, they highlighted the repression of protests and democracy advocacy in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR); impunity for excessive use of force by police; the alleged use of chemical agents against protesters; the alleged sexual harassment and assault of women protesters in police stations; together with the alleged harassment of health care workers.

The experts also raised their “grave concerns” on issues ranging from the collective repression of specific communities – “especially religious and ethnic minorities, in Xinjiang and Tibet” – to the detention of lawyers and prosecution - in addition to disappearances - of human rights defenders across the country.

Moreover, they expressed alarm over allegations of forced labour in both formal and informal sectors of the economy, as well as arbitrary interferences with the right to privacy, cybersecurity laws that authorise censorship; and anti-terrorism and sedition laws, applicable in Hong Kong.

The independent experts also voiced their concern for journalists, medical workers and those speaking out about COVID-19 online inside China, who have allegedly faced retaliation from the authorities, including being charged with “spreading misinformation” or “disrupting public order.”

‘Violation’ of legal obligations

Most recently, say the experts, and without meaningful consultation with the people of Hong Kong, China has drafted a national security law that would undermine the right to a fair trial, and open the door to a “sharp rise in arbitrary detention”, undermining the “one country, two systems” governance framework that was introduced at the end of British rule; enabling the Chinese Government to establish “agencies” in Hong Kong “when needed.”

If adopted, the law would “violate China’s international legal obligations and impose severe restrictions on civil and political rights in the autonomous region”, according to the independent experts.

“The draft law would deprive the people of Hong Kong…the autonomy and fundamental rights guaranteed them under the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration”, they maintained.

The experts urged China to "withdraw the draft national security law for Hong Kong”.

Image: Hong Kong Police Force

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