tirsdag 21. april 2020

Hong Kong using Covid-19 crisis as 'golden opportunity' for crackdown, says arrested leader

Beijing and the Hong Kong government are using the pandemic as a “golden opportunity” to crack down on dissent and the growing pro-democracy movement, according to a senior protest leader arrested over the weekend. The arrest of Lee Cheuk Yan, a veteran politician and activist, and 14 other high-profile people on Saturday, came amid a run of acts by authorities seen as alarming intrusions on Hong Kong’s autonomy, ahead of elections in September.

Lee told the Guardian the arrests – which were condemned by the UK, US and Australian governments and human rights groups – would have seen people “pouring out onto the street to protest” in normal times. “But... Hong Kong people are very alert to the concern of infection, so they are using the chance of the pandemic,” he said. “This is a golden opportunity for them.” He said Saturday’s arrests were aimed at ensuring pro-Beijing candidates won a majority at September’s Legislative Council elections, and could push through “more stringent or draconian laws for the future”.