It’s only when you sit back and ask yourself, “What has Tony Chung actually done?” that you realise just how draconian Hong Kong’s state security law is.
Among the accusations against Mr Chung: that he posted on social media advocating independence for Hong Kong.
According to Joshua Rosenzweig, the head of Amnesty International’s China Team, “a peaceful student activist has been charged and detained solely because the authorities disagree with his views”.
Consider it another way. Mr Chung is 19 years old. What views were you expressing when you were 19? What opinions were others expressing? Should you have been threatened with life imprisonment for them?
In just a matter of months, the pro-Beijing camp in Hong Kong has made use of the new national security law to erode the harbour city’s once vaunted freedom of speech. It is nothing short of a disaster for the vast majority of residents who voted for the pro-democracy block in the most recent local elections.
As a document, the proposed law was frightening, but now people are seeing the reality: state security agents grabbing teenage activists from cafes and taking them away perhaps for the rest of their lives. On the ground in Hong Kong, the shocking reality of the new legal regime is becoming clear.
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