Tuesday, August 4, 2020 | ePaper

China appoints hardliner to head new Hong Kong security agency

  • Print


Supporters raise white paper to avoid slogans banned under China's security law as they voice support for an arrested anti-law protester outside a court on Friday.

AFP, Hong Kong :
China appointed a hardliner to head a new national security agency in Hong Kong on Friday as police brought the first charges under a sweeping new anti-subversion law that has shaken the semi-autonomous finance hub.
Zheng Yanxiong - a party official best known for tackling protests on the mainland - will lead the office set up by the legislation that empowers mainland security agents to operate in Hong Kong openly for the first time, unbound by the city's laws.
The appointment came as a man accused of deliberately driving his motorbike into a group of police officers became the first person in Hong Kong to be charged under the new national security law.
China's authoritarian leaders say the suite of powers will restore stability after a year of protests and will not stifle freedoms.
But police have already begun arresting people for possessing flags and banners while the local government has made clear certain political views, especially calls for independence, are now outlawed.
On Thursday evening Nathan Law, one of the city's most prominent young activists, announced he had fled overseas to an undisclosed location, fearing arrest days after the pro-democracy party he helped found said it was disbanding.
Many western governments - led by Britain and the United States - have condemned the law and have angered Beijing by threatening to hit back with sanctions or offer sanctuary to Hong Kongers.
The new national security agency is just one new element of Beijing's landmark law targeting subversion, secession, terrorism and colluding with foreign forces.
The office has investigation and prosecution powers and will monitor intelligence related to national security and process cases, in some circumstances handing them over to the mainland for trial.
Zheng rose through the ranks of the local government in southern Guangdong province which borders Hong Kong, to serve as secretary general of the provincial Communist Party committee.
The 56-year-old is known as a hardliner who stamped out often-violent anti-corruption protests that erupted in Wukan, a village in the province, in 2011 after a local activist died in police custody.
"He is a tough enforcer, a law and order person," Willy Lam, an expert on China's Communist Party at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said.
Hong Kong was rocked by several months of huge and sometimes violent pro-democracy protests last year, a movement which Beijing has vowed to end with its new security law.
China has dismissed protesters' demands for greater democracy and portrayed the unrest as a foreign plot to destabilise the motherland. It has sought to ramp up oversight on Hong Kong's government.
On Friday, the State Council also named Luo Huining - the current director of Beijing's Liaison Office in the city - as the national security adviser to the newly-formed national security commission, chaired by Chief Executive Carrie Lam.

More News For this Category

More than 100 civilians killed in Libya between April and June

Al Jazeera News :More than 100 civilians including children were killed by ground fighting, explosive remnants and air raids in Libya between April and June, according to the United

India uses arrival of new fighter jets to warn China

Dawn.com, New Delhi : The first five Rafale fighter jets bought from France in a multi-billion-dollar deal landed in India on Wednesday and the defence minister used their arrival to

Hong Kong bars 12 from election, but denies impinging on civil rights

Hong Kong bars 12 from election, but denies impinging on civil rights

Reuters, Hong Kong :Hong Kong's government said on Thursday 12 pro-democracy candidates had been disqualified from running for election to the legislature, citing opposition to a new national security

Zimbabwe clears streets, shops close ahead of planned protests

Zimbabwe clears streets, shops close ahead of planned protests

Reuters, Harare :Zimbabwe's security forces on Thursday cleared people off streets of the capital Harare and forced shops to close, a day before planned anti-government protests during the worst

Lawmaker tests positive, leaving congress rattled

Lawmaker tests positive, leaving congress rattled

The New York Times :Rep Louie Gohmert, a Texas Republican who has frequently refused to don a face covering in the Capitol, confirmed on Wednesday that he had tested

Malaysia's ruling coalition stumbles as key ally quits political pact

Malaysia's ruling coalition stumbles as key ally quits political pact

Reuters :The biggest party in Malaysia's ruling coalition on Thursday said it will withdraw from a political alliance with the prime minister but will continue to support the government,

Tehran launches underground ballistic missiles during exercise

Tehran launches underground ballistic missiles during exercise

AP, Tehran :Iran's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard launched underground ballistic missiles on Wednesday as part of an exercise involving a mock-up American aircraft carrier in the Strait of Hormuz, highlighting

Iran batters dummy US aircraft carrier in Gulf exercises

AFP, Tehran :Iran's Revolutionary Guards blasted a mock-up of a US aircraft carrier with missiles on Tuesday during military exercises in sensitive Gulf waters, state television reported.The exercises -

Saudi Arabia proposes political resolution to Yemeni government, but no deal to end standoff

Reuters :Under the resolution, Yemen's Southern Transitional Council (STC) would rescind self rule, implement the Riyadh agreement and appoint a governor for Aden, said the statement on Wednesday.Yemen's prime

Hong Kong University fires prominent democracy activist Benny Tai

Al Jazeera News :The University of Hong Kong (HKU) has fired veteran pro-democracy activist Benny Tai from his tenured position as an associate professor of law, a move he