Hong Kong police issued a terrorist threat warning questioned

Hong Kong Political Update

On the anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong from the UK to China, a policeman was almost stabbed to death. A group of young people, some of whom were only 15 years old, were accused of placing explosives around the city.

Hong Kong’s role as a regional business hub Depends on its reputation As a stable and safe city. But the two incidents called terrorism by the authorities this month have led experts to question whether the suppression of dissent after the anti-government protests in 2019 is inciting underground violent resistance.

Others questioned whether officials were using isolated incidents to justify Xinjiang-style security repression and to shape Hong Kong into a police state.A Hongkonger is Convicted of terrorism In a first instance under the National Security Law on Tuesday, this showed that the court will take a strong stance to enforce Beijing’s comprehensive legislation on the city last year.

“We can see similar applications in Hong Kong using the’anti-terrorism’ model developed in Xinjiang, although it may emphasize surveillance and legislative elements rather than brutal suppression,” said Michael Clark, a scholar at the University of Hong Kong. Technical Sydney and editor of a book on China’s domestic security policy.

Shocked Hong Kong

July 1 has always been a sensitive day in Hong Kong, but this year is particularly important.This date marks the handover of the city from British rule to Chinese rule, but in 2021 it also commemorates One year since implementation in Beijing Comprehensive national security laws and 100th anniversary The founding of the Communist Party of China.

When Liang Jianhui, 50, lived with his parents, Attacked a policeman with a knife Before stabbing himself, the head of security in the city, Chris Tang, described the incident as a “lone wolf-style act of domestic terrorism.”

The police officer survived, but Liang died in the hospital.

A policeman receives medical treatment after being attacked by Liang Jianhui on July 1 © AP

Some anti-government activists portray him as a martyr. He grabbed the bloody chest and the posters and paintings spread widely on the Internet. The Hong Kong University Student Union paid a silent tribute to him, and Hong Kong people presented flowers at the place where the incident occurred.

Security hardliners at the top of the Hong Kong government reacted fiercely. The person who posted online comments about violence against the police has been arrested, and the National Security Police raided the university union. Vitasoy, the soy milk company where Liang Zhenying worked, even encountered strong opposition in mainland China after a manager expressed condolences for his death.

“Those who try to downplay terrorism will be the’criminals of 1000 years’,” said Li Jiafu, Hong Kong’s second highest official and former security minister.

However, analysts cautioned that it is not yet clear whether Liang Zhenying’s attack can be defined as terrorism and questioned the Hong Kong authorities’ motives.

Lydia Khalil, a global terrorism expert at the Lowy Institute, a think tank in Sydney, said, “Amplifying the threat of terrorism is in the interest of the Hong Kong government because it can be used as an excuse for further crackdowns. Oppose civil disobedience and abolish opposition Legality, and enact stricter security laws to appease China and further consolidate control.”

The arrest of a teenager raises the alarm

The police arrested at least 14 people this month, some of whom were as young as 15 years old. They claimed that they were members of an organization called “Return to Heroic”, which is planning Plant explosives In cross-sea tunnels, courts and dumpsters.

In the 2019 protests, “Warriors” or Yumao, Activists took A more confrontational approach, Often clashed with the police.

Police detained a woman during a protest in Hong Kong's Tsim Sha Tsui district in 2019

Police detained a woman during a protest in Hong Kong’s Tsim Sha Tsui district in 2019 © Bloomberg

The police said they found a temporary laboratory to produce triacetone triperoxide (TATP), a volatile explosive.

Senior Superintendent Steve Lee, who oversaw the case, accused these young people of planning to target public infrastructure such as sea-crossing tunnels in order to “cause the greatest damage to society.”

Steve Vickers, a former Hong Kong police officer who serves as a political risk adviser, said: “We are on the cusp of a mild and small-scale rebellion initiated by a local pro-independence group. A few are very radical.” He added, yes. Widespread reports of police stabbings may trigger imitations.

But another professional risk consultant described the so-called plot as “spare time.” The person added that the amount of chemicals found was not enough to cause major damage. “They obviously don’t know what they are doing,” the person said.

The Hong Kong representative who attended the National People’s Congress also expressed this view. The National People’s Congress is China’s annual rubber stamp legislative body. “These are a few students and they have no threats,” the representative said.

Even Tang, the head of security, said that he “has no specific information” about a possible terrorist attack.

Some analysts also said that suppressing dissent itself may further aggravate Hong Kong people.

Michael Adorjan, a criminologist at the University of Calgary and an expert on youth crime in Hong Kong, warned of the danger of backlash.Since the protest, hundreds of Hong Kong people have sympathized with the movement Arrested The government is accused of excessive expansion and political prosecution.

“Young people are likely to feel that their social exclusion is a sign of legitimacy because they think the Hong Kong government and its police departments are illegal,” he said. “Although the punishment is to suppress dissent, it may be counterproductive.”

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