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Hong Kong Announces Bounties On Five Pro-Democracy Activists Who Fled The Country

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China defended the criticised rewards offered on Friday for apprehending dissidents from Hong Kong who had fled overseas. Authorities in Hong Kong earlier on Thursday announced rewards of HK$1,000,000 ($128,000) for five pro-democracy activists who departed the city after Beijing’s national security law went into effect in 2020.

Human rights organisations and foreign governments denounced these bounties, which Amnesty International called “absurd” and intended to spread terror throughout the world. London saw the action as “a threat to our democracy and fundamental human rights,” while Washington fiercely denounced it.

Citing national security concerns, China backed the effort, demonstrating its legal standing under international law. The second round of bounties is aimed at “fugitives accused of national security crimes.”

According to news agency AFP, the contentious law that was introduced on June 30, 2020, changed Hong Kong by doing away with the legal separation between the city and mainland China. The law also claimed extraterritorial reach without indicating how it would be applied abroad.

Hosts of a YouTube channel and other self-exiled pro-democracy activists in Australia, the United States, and Britain are among those sought. Eight activists, including Ted Hui and Nathan Law, were also singled out in July, which drew criticism from the West.

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