News 22 may — 11:42

Activists call for Hong Kong to rise up against new security laws

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Hong Kong activists called on Friday for people to rise up against Beijing’s plans to impose national security legislation in the city, prompting alarm that the new laws could erode its freedoms through “force and fear”, Reuters reports.

But new calls have emerged for flash mobs at night across the territory and activists including Joshua Wong plan to meet the press to announce “street action” later on Friday. 

“This is a great moment to reboot the protest,” said university student Kay, 24, who participated in last year’s mass scale and often violent anti-government and anti-Beijing protests which this year entered a lull due to the coronavirus. 

The security law plan hit financial markets on Friday, due to concerns the semiautonomous city’s status as a global financial hub was at risk, with Hong Kong stocks selling off as China’s parliament sat to discuss the new law. 

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 3.7% to a seven-week low, helping to pull down MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan 1.2%. 

The proposed legislation could heighten tensions between Beijing and Washington, whose relationship is already frayed by trade disputes and reciprocal accusations over the pandemic. 

U.S. President Donald Trump warned Washington would react “very strongly” if Beijing went ahead with the security law. 

“It is starting to look like a U.S.-China summer of discontent in the making,” said Stephen Innes, chief global market strategist at AxiCorp. 

Innes said the new law could potentially reignite the pro-democracy demonstrations of 2019, the biggest crisis the former British colony has faced since it returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

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