Hong Kong localism and independence

Families of two young Hong Kong independence activists warned about political activities during trips to mainland China, Studentlocalism says

Human rights group says mainland law enforcers may have conducted ‘fact-finding’ missions to intimidate independence group

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 02 September, 2018, 7:31am
UPDATED : Sunday, 02 September, 2018, 7:31am

A student group seeking an independent Hong Kong says the families of two activists have been warned by mainland Chinese law enforcements agents that the pair must “stop their political activities”.

The claim by Studentlocalism came to light after Hong Kong pro-democracy party Demosisto earlier said two of its members had been detained during visits to the mainland this year.

A human rights group said mainland law enforcers may have conducted “fact-finding” missions to intimidate the independence group.

One member of the family of an 18-year-old Studentlocalism activist was stopped by police officers as he returned to Hong Kong from Guangdong several months ago, the group said.

The officers pressed the family member to help stop the youngster’s “political activities”.

“They said they would send someone to get in touch with the activist, who then quit Studentlocalism out of personal safety concerns,” a statement from the group said on Saturday.

A second activist’s family allegedly received a similar warning from police at a business chamber in Quanzhou, Fujian province. Officers there said the activist had been posting anti-China messages online.

“The pair were with Studentlocalism for a relatively long time. That may explain how mainland officers were able to trace the names [of their families],” said Tony Chung Hon-lam, 17, the convenor of the group, which has about 20 members.

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The two activists joined the organisation in 2016. Most of the group’s members are secondary school or university students, or fresh graduates.

“Studentlocalism condemns these recent cases of mainland officers harassing or detaining Hong Kong citizens – they were clearly in breach of the Basic Law,” the group said, referring to the city’s mini-constitution.

The group urged the Hong Kong government to raise the issue with mainland Chinese authorities.

Chong Yiu-kwong, deputy chairman of Human Rights Monitor, said mainland officers may have carried out research in Hong Kong into Studentlocalism activists, but there was little the city could do about it.

“These efforts by mainland officers will certainly affect [the group’s] freedom of expression and right to protest,” Chong said.

The government’s Security Bureau said no one but the city’s disciplined services had the power of law enforcement in Hong Kong.

Chung said community relations officers with the Hong Kong police force had shied away from informal dialogue with Studentlocalism in recent months, and several activists believed they had been tailed and photographed.

He said police could be collecting evidence to propose a ban on the organisation under the Societies Ordinance, as they had done with the Hong Kong National Party, another pro-independence group.

The police force on Saturday said they would not comment on specific cases.