Hong Kong teen activist detained for trying to seek asylum at US consulate

Hong Kong teen activist detained for trying to seek asylum at US consulate

Police on Tuesday arrested two men and a woman between the ages of 17 and 21 in connection with a separatist remark on social media.

Student Localism, a one-time pro-independence group, identified the trio with former convener Tony Chung and former members William Chan and Yani Ho on Facebook.

According to the Friends of Hong Kong, an activist group based in the United Kingdom, Chung was planning to seek asylum at the U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong before being arrested.

And three members of Student Localism He was previously arrested in July A page claiming to represent the international section of the group in relation to posts made on social media.

The Hong Kong branch of the organization said the ban on secession, coup d’മായുള്ളtat and alliances with foreign forces was lifted soon after the Chinese authorities imposed the National Security Act on the city.

Chung and others still living in Hong Kong allege that the city continues to advocate for independence from China. The offense is punishable by up to three to 10 years in prison or life imprisonment for crimes of a “serious nature”. Defendant indicated that he had nothing to do with the separatist posts.

A Hong Kong government spokesman told CNN on Wednesday that it would not comment on media reports of the arrests. But he said there was no justification for calling it a political asylum for the people of Hong Kong.

“People in Hong Kong must be prosecuted for actions that are against the laws of Hong Kong, regardless of their political beliefs or background. Moreover, the trial is conducted by an independent judiciary in accordance with the principles of the rule of law,” he added.

An increasing number of Hong Kong people have sought refuge abroad since the National Security Act was passed earlier this year. Washington Said It will prioritize refugees from Hong Kong, and U.S. politicians have been the most vocal in criticizing China’s repression of the city’s autonomy and democratic independence.

However, providing asylum to activists within Hong Kong is a huge increase, and could lead to a diplomatic storm in Washington and Beijing, which could disrupt the future of the Hong Kong consulate itself.

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CNN reached out to the US Consulate General in Hong Kong, Hong Kong and the Macau office for comment.

Accordingly U.S. law, Washington “does not offer asylum in diplomatic circles abroad.” Those wishing to claim refugee status must attend the US to do so. Although some activists have previously been granted protection by the US Embassy in Beijing, this is rare, and each time has caused Washington a major political headache.
Following the 1989 attack on Tiananmen Square, Rebel Academic Fang Lishi He fled to the U.S. embassy, ​​where he spent a year before agreeing that Beijing would agree to leave China. In 2012, lawmaker Chen Guangzhoung spent months under house arrest. The embassy was given a dramatic break Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her visit to Beijing. He was also allowed to leave the country after fierce talks between US and Chinese officials.
When abused former police chief Wang Lijun sought refuge at the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu the same year, He turned away. Finally Wang 15 years imprisonment In allegations of corruption.
The difference between an embassy and a consulate can be significant. Embassies are protected by international law, and closing or entering the premises can lead to a major diplomatic crisis. However, consulates are less secure and can order countries to suspend operations, as the US and China did earlier this year. Closing of each country’s respective missions in Houston and Chengdu.
The incident came after Washington claimed it was the Houston Consulate in China Involved in espionageU.S. officials also blamed Beijing’s mission in San Francisco Accommodates an absconding Chinese scientist. That scientist Tang Juan later Surrendered to police in California.

Circumstances surrounding Tang’s surrender remain unclear, but fears that the United States could have shut down if it had continued to seek refuge inside the San Francisco consulate. U.S. officials may be embarrassed to shelter rebels in Hong Kong, the most important U.S. mission in Greater China since the Beijing embassy.

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When the consulate was established earlier this year, some Chinese state media outlets called for the closure of the Hong Kong consulate, accusing it of carrying out US-influenced activities. While Beijing now appears to be avoiding further escalation, the loss of the Hong Kong mission would be a major setback for Washington, both diplomatically and practically, given Hong Kong’s economic importance and the number of Americans living in the city.

Contributed to CNN’s Eric Cheung Reporting.

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