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Three former pro-democracy leaders arrested in Hong Kong

Three former pro-democracy leaders arrested in Hong Kong
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Three former pro-democracy lawmakers in Hong Kong were arrested Wednesday due to disruptions at legislative meetings in May and June, the latest in ongoing crackdowns on members of the opposition group. 

According to The Associated Press, Ted Hui, Eddie Chu and Raymond Chan posted on Facebook that they had been arrested in connection with incidents months prior in which the three on separate occasions splashed pungent liquids and other items during meetings in the Hong Kong legislature’s main chamber. 

While a Hong Kong police statement Wednesday confirmed that three lawmakers had been arrested, the authorities did not identify the lawmakers by name, the AP reported. 

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The lawmakers had apparently disrupted the meetings in protest of a since-approved law that allows punishment for people who have insulted the Chinese national anthem, the “March of the Volunteers.”

Hui, who was released on bail later Wednesday, called the arrests “ridiculous,” according to the AP.  

“This only shows to all Hong Kong people and to the world that this regime is a tyranny, that its persecution against dissidents, against opposition, against democratic legislators has never stopped. It’s been non-stop prosecution against us,” Hui told reporters.

Chu and Chan had left their legislative roles after Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam cited the coronavirus pandemic as a reason to postpone legislative elections in the semi-autonomous territory. 

Earlier this month, Chu and Chan, along with five other former and sitting members of the pro-democracy legislative wing, were arrested due to brawls that broke out at a May 8 meeting.  

Last week, 15 pro-democracy legislators in Hong Kong's Legislative Council resigned en masse after four of their colleagues were expelled from the lawmaking body following the adoption of a Chinese law that authorized their removal. 

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China’s National People’s Congress Standing Committee passed a directive stating that any lawmaker may be removed from their position if they support Hong Kong’s independence, refuse to recognize China’s authority over the city, threaten national security or call for external intervention in its affairs. 

Later that day, Hong Kong's government announced the removal of four assembly members who had previously been prohibited from running for reelection after authorities deemed that their allegiance to Hong Kong was not sincere. 

“Today we will resign from our positions because our partners, our colleagues have been disqualified by the central government’s ruthless move,” Wu Chi-wai, the leader of the pro-democracy camp, told reporters as the group announced their joint resignation. “We can no longer tell the world that we still have ‘one country, two systems.’ This declares its official death.”