Some 20 activists from Hong Kong gathered at the border with mainland China on Sunday to show their support for jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo. As soon as the group got close to the border, police on the Chinese side of the border took the chance to reach over and arrest them... despite them being geographically beyond the officers' jurisdiction.
Liu Xiaobo was condemned to 11 years in prison on Dec. 25. He was sentenced for subversion after signing "Charter 08", a petition calling for political reform and an end to one-party-rule in China. On Dec. 27, a group of 21 Hong Kongers who had signed the charter gathered at the Luhou border crossing, which meets the mainland city of Shenzhen.
Video posted on YouTube by "peterim5c".
The activists, heavy with irony, pretend they've come to confess to committing the same crime as Liu Xiaobo; hands bound and carrying boards reading "Signing Charter 08 is a crime".At the border of where the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region ends and mainland China begins, a couple of security agents bolted across the border and restrained four of the activists and two reporters, taking them to the mainland side for interrogation. Two of the arrests can be seen in the video (3 minutes 21 seconds) on the video. The detainees were released several hours later.
Lee Cheuk-yan is vice president of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, the group who orchestrated the demonstration.
The reaction from the Honk Kong police to the intervention was very disappointing. They didn't do anything to protect us or get the detainees returned. I got the impression that they wanted the protest over, and wanted to let the Chinese agents do as they pleased. They even tried to prosecute some of the protestors. They wanted to stop anyone from sympathising with Liu Xiaobo before they even had the chance.
Liu Xiaobo symbolises the fight for human rights and for freedom. His sentencing is a sign that China is moving backwards in these areas. What did this man do other than write a few articles?
For some years now we've been trying to stimulate constitutional reform for a more democratic system in Hong Kong. We see Liu Xiaobo's sentence as a threat to our movement. If China can't stand Liu Xiaobo, then they'll never tolerate the kind of democracy we stand for.
The Chinese government is currently putting pressure on ministers to vote for the an ‘anti-subversion bill' in Hong Kong. We must resist. If not, we might end up in the same situation as Liu Xiaobo."
Oiwan Lam is a blogger from Hong Kong.