Published:Thursday, 29 Oct 2020 01:10
Hong Kong teen activist Tony Chung has been charged under a new national security law, just days after he was detained outside the US consulate.
Mr Chung, 19, had reportedly planned to enter the consulate and claim asylum.
He faces possible life imprisonment if found guilty of secession, conspiracy to publish seditious content, and money laundering.
Mr Chung, the second person to be charged under the law, was denied bail by the court.
The controversial law was imposed by China on Hong Kong in June, making it easier to punish protesters and reducing the city’s autonomy.
The law is wide-ranging and gives Beijing extensive powers which it never had before to shape life in the territory.
Critics say the law erodes the city’s judicial independence and rights like freedom of speech, and that it has created a sense of fear and uncertainty in Hong Kong.
The United States, which under the Trump administration has taken a hard line against China, criticised the arrest.
“The use of the National Security Unit of the Hong Kong Police Force for the detention of a minor in a coffee shop is reprehensible,” said a spokesperson for the state department.
Joshua Rosenzweig, the head of Amnesty International’s China Team, said Chinese authorities had carried out a “politically motivated arrest”, part of an “intensifying attack on human rights in Hong Kong”.