A Hong Kong activist charged with secession under a new national security law
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.
Tony Chung, 19, was charged with secession, money laundering, and conspiracy to publish seditious content on Thursday.
The charges against him come two days after plainclothes police arrested him in a coffee shop across the street from the US Consulate.
Mr. Chung had reportedly planned to enter the consulate and claim asylum.
However, Chung, who has been in police custody, has not been able to comment on whether he was attempting to seek asylum.
The United States, under the Trump administration, has taken a hard line against China, criticized 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.
If Chung found guilty, he will face life imprisonment.
The controversial law was imposed by China in Hong Kong on June 30, 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.
Mr. Chung, a former member of pro-independence group Studentlocalism, had previously said that life under the new law had become more restrictive for him and other activists.
On its part, Beijing said the security law was necessary to bring stability to the former British-ruled city after anti-mainland protests rocked Hong Kong.
On the other side, critics of the law have said China officials use it to crush freedoms granted to the city after it returned to Chinese rule in 1997.
Earlier on Tuesday, two other activists were also arrested but released on bail, meanwhile, Mr. Chung bail was denied by the court.