Hong Kong Activists Summoned by Police in National Security Case

Hong Kong opposition figures arrested in a historic subversion sweep last month have been summoned to report to police, suggesting the national security case against them is accelerating.

Several prominent activists among the more than 50 rounded up on Jan. 6 said Friday that they have been ordered to turn themselves in again a month earlier than previously scheduled. Some including district councilors Fergus Leung, Lester Shum and Cheng Tat-hung, said separately on their Facebook pages that they expected to be formally charged in preparation for prosecution in the courts.

So far, 52 of the 55 former lawmakers and activists arrested in the sweep last month have been summoned this weekend, the South China Morning Post reported, citing the activists. Former University of Hong Kong law professor Benny Tai, a key proponent of the “Occupy Central” protests that rocked the city in 2014, told local media he was among those ordered to report. Former lawmaker Claudia Mo also said she was contacted by police.

“Informed by the national security department about the subversion of state power case; need to report in advance to the Western police station at 2 p.m. on the 28th Sunday,” said Shum, a former student leader elected to a District Council seat in 2019. “Expect to be charged officially.”

The Hong Kong police didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.

The activists had helped organize an unofficial primary in July to nominate opposition candidates for a legislative election that the Hong Kong government later postponed. They were accused of subversion under a China-drafted national security law imposed on the former British colony in June without public debate.

The sweep showed how much Chinese President Xi Jinping has tipped the balance of power back to the government after a historic wave of democracy protests gripped Hong Kong for months in 2019. The law carries sentences as long as life in prison depending on the severity of the offense.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has called the sweep an “assault on those bravely advocating for universal rights” in Hong Kong and vowed to support the activists targeted.

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