The Hong Kong edition of The Epoch Times has strongly condemned the Hong Kong police for making indiscriminate arrests at the site of protests, amid the Beijing regime’s implementation of its new national security law.
On July 1, while thousands of protesters marched onto the streets in defiance of a police ban to oppose the new law, four Epoch Times distribution workers were among a group of people who were surrounded by police and arrested.
The local Epoch Times bureau has called for their unconditional release, and the four—Chen Xiaojuan, Zhang Yan, Qiu Xiuzhu, and Wang Jinxiang—have since been released on bail after paying HK$500 (about US$64).
They were distributing Epoch Times promotional material near Victoria Park in Causeway Bay district on July 1, as protesters gathered for a protest march, when they were arrested between 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.
They were detained overnight at the North Point Police Station before being released on bail July 2 at various times; their phones have been confiscated.
The police conducted a body search and also searched their bags. The four staffers were also told to remove their clothing and change into police-issued clothes; police kept the clothes as evidence for an investigation.
While officers returned the newspapers they carried with them, they kept posters and other promotional materials, saying these would also be held as evidence. Two of the staff, Chen and Jin, had photos taken with the posters placed next to them. All four are due to report to the police station on Aug. 4.
The national security law went into effect late June 30 after ceremonial votes by China’s rubber-stamp legislature, the National People’s Congress. The law criminalizes individuals for any acts of subversion, secession, terrorism, or collusion with foreign forces, with a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
Police made mass arrests throughout the day on July 1. About 370 people were arrested at the site of protests, including 10 on suspicion of violating the national security law.
This article has been updated with the latest information.