Asia/Pacific

Second person convicted under Hong Kong national security law

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A second person on Monday was convicted for violating Hong Kong’s national security law for inciting secession after chanting pro-independence slogans in the city. 

Ma Chun-man’s conviction came as a result of chanting “Hong Kong independence, the only way out” 20 times between August and November 2020, according to The Associated Press

Before his conviction, Ma had previously been arrested multiple times for partaking in similar chants. His sentencing is set to take place on Nov. 11, and he could face up to seven years in jail, the AP reported.  

Last July, Tong Ying-kit, who was the first person convicted under the law, drove his motorcycle into a group of police officers while holding a flag that said, “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times.” As a result, he faces nine years in jail for inciting secession and terrorism, the wire service said.

The national security law prohibits secession, subversion of state power, terrorism and foreign collusion. However, the law loosely defines “national security” and has been used to suppress freedom of expression and assembly in the country, according to Amnesty International.

Most well-known pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong have been arrested as a result of unauthorized assemblies, according to the AP. Other groups have stopped operating in the city altogether.

Amnesty, an international human rights group, was one of the organizations that stopped operating its Hong Kong office as a result of the law, which they said made their work “effectively impossible” to complete.  

Since the national security law was enacted in June 2020, more than 120 people have been arrested under the rule and at least 35 other groups have also stopped their operations. 

Tags Freedom of speech Hong Kong national security law

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