Hong Kong pro-democracy group Demosisto announced it will disband following China’s enactment of a “National Security Law” that extends Beijing’s control over the semi-autonomous city. The decision to disband came hours after three of the group’s leading activists, Joshua Wong, Nathan Law and Agnes Chow, issued statements saying they were stepping down from the organization under threat of “political imprisonment.”
“From now on, Hong Kong enters a new era of reign of terror, just like Taiwan’s White Terror, with arbitrary prosecutions, black jails, secret trials, forced confessions, media clampdowns and political censorship,” Wong said on Twitter, in a reference to right-wing repression under the Chiang Kai-shek dictatorship. “With sweeping powers and ill-defined law, the city will turn into a secret police state. Hong Kong protesters now face high possibilities of being extradited to China’s courts for trials and life sentences.”
Demosisto was founded in 2016 to push for pro-democratic reforms such as universal suffrage for Hong Kong.
The pro-independence formations Hong Kong National Front and Studentlocalism also announced that they are disbanding. Both said their overseas chapters in Taiwan and the UK would carry on their work, promoting independence for Hong Kong abroad.
The National Security Law was approved by a unanimous vote of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee on June 30. Under the law, acts of “secession,” “subversion,” “terrorism,” or “collusion” with a foreign power carry a minimum of 10 years and maximum of life in prison. (HKFP, HKFP, HKFP, BBC News, NYT)