İrem GÖL -TDO- Police in Hong Kong arrested at least 15 pro-democracy activists due to the mass protests last year. The detainees are accused of organising and taking part in unlawful assemblies. Police detained some prominent names, including the founder of the Democratic Party and a senior barrister Martin Lee. He is known as the founding father of Hong Kong’s democratic movement as well as one of the architects of the city’s Basic Law, the small scale constitution under which Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997.
Divya Gopalan from Al Jazeera said the police would release a statement which will give more details about the allegations. She added: “According to one of those legislative councillors who has been arrested, he posted on social media saying that it is most likely due to their involvement in protests in the past year, particularly the one on August 18 which was against Hong Kong’s extradition law that has been removed since.” The protests had started against a bill proposing to send suspects to mainland China for trial. But, the unrest grew due to the use of force by police and converted into a full-scale protest demanding dull democracy.
The Basic Law prevents China from interfering in Hong Kong affairs and states that Chinese government cannot “interfere in the affairs which the Hong Kong administrative region administers on its own in accordance with this law.” However, the detentions occurred after China’s liaison office states that the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office are authorised by the central authorities to handle Hong Kong affairs. The office also added that “a high degree of autonomy is not complete autonomy” and the right to self-rule of Hong Kong is also authorised by the central government.