Hong Kong convicts second person under national security law
HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong has convicted a second person under its sweeping national security law for chanting pro-independence slogans, amid a political crackdown in the city.
Ma Chun-man was convicted of inciting secession on Monday after he was found to have chanted slogans such as “Hong Kong independence, the only way out” on 20 occasions between August and November of last year.
Critics in Hong Kong say the National Security Law erodes freedoms, such as those of expression and assembly, that were promised to the city for 50 years when the former British colony was handed over to China in 1997.
Ma is the second person to be convicted under the new law, which outlaws what authorities describe as secession, subversion of state power, terrorism and foreign collusion in intervening in Hong Kong’s affairs.
Ma had been arrested multiple times for chanting such slogans before being remanded in custody.
Sentencing for Ma was adjourned to Nov. 11, and he faces up to seven years in jail.
Tong Ying-kit, the first person to be convicted under the national security law, was jailed for nine years for inciting secession and terrorism after he drove his motorcycle into a group of police officers last July while bearing a flag with the banned slogan “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times.”
The majority of the city’s prominent pro-democracy activists have been arrested for taking part in unauthorized assemblies, and dozens of political organizations and trade unions have ceased operation out of concern for their members’ safety under the security law.
Over 120 people have been arrested under the security law since it was implemented last June.