China puts $191,000 price on activist heads in Australia

China has warned Australia against giving a safe haven to “fugitives” seeking to “destabilise Hong Kong”, with police offering huge bounties for their arrests.

Jul 05, 2023, updated Jul 05, 2023
Protesters in Hong Kong can be tried for subversion under China's new security law. Photo: EPA/Miguel Candela

Protesters in Hong Kong can be tried for subversion under China's new security law. Photo: EPA/Miguel Candela

Hong Kong authorities have offered $HK1 million ($191,000) bounties for the arrest of eight overseas-based activists after accusing them of national security offences following a crackdown on political dissent.

The activists include Australian lawyer Kevin Yam and former Hong Kong lawmaker Ted Hui, who is now living in Australia.

Asked about the condemnation over the arrest warrants, China’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning accused Yam and others of having engaged in “anti-China activities aimed at destabilising Hong Kong”.

“We strongly deplore and firmly oppose individual countries’ flagrant slandering against the national security law for Hong Kong and interference in the rule of law in Hong Kong,” she said.

“Relevant countries need to respect China’s sovereignty and the rule of law in Hong Kong, stop lending support for anti-China elements destabilising Hong Kong and stop providing a safe haven for fugitives.”

But Hui labelled the bounty placed on his head as “ridiculous”.

“It’s the political gesture that they want to make,” he said on Wednesday.

“They want to spread this wide terror to make all those who are overseas advocating for freedom … to just shut up and not to criticise them anymore.”

Hui added that he felt “absolutely safe” in Australia while the government allowed him to stay here.

Beijing imposed the national security law on Hong Kong in 2020 after a series of protests over extradition changes.

Human rights groups have described the laws as a further crackdown on peaceful dissent under Hong Kong’s Chinese administration.

InDaily in your inbox. The best local news every workday at lunch time.
By signing up, you agree to our User Agreement andPrivacy Policy & Cookie Statement. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said he was “disappointed” over the arrest warrants.

“This decision overnight is an example of where Australia and China do have different approaches to these issues, and we’ll stand up for our values,” he said.

Foreign Minister Penny Wong previously said the government was “deeply disappointed” by reports of the bounties and expressed concern about the broad application of the national security law.

-with AAP

Local News Matters
Copyright © 2024 InDaily.
All rights reserved.