Hong Kong police arrest eight over university protest as crackdown intensifies


The US sanction will apply to the 14 individuals and their immediate family members.

Any assets the officials might have within the United States will be blocked and U.S. individuals and companies will be banned from dealing with them.

The US move is seen as outgoing President Donald Trump's effort to cement his tough-on-China legacy.

Hong Kong police arrested eight more activists on Tuesday over an anti-government protest in July, the latest move by authorities in a relentless crackdown on opposition forces in the Chinese-ruled city.

Five others were also arrested for unlawful assembly, added Li, who is among a group of senior Hong Kong and Chinese officials that were earlier sanctioned by the United States. Such ceremonies are often used as a way for students to express political views.

The police on Tuesday did not identify the people, saying only that they were aged between 24 and 64.

President Donald Trump's administration has been using its waning days to ramp up pressure on China, and on Monday froze any U.S. assets and barred travel to the United States for 14 vice chairs of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, which spearheaded a tough new security law in the city.

More than 370 were arrested in the rally that came after Beijing imposed security legislation on its freest city, saying it was vital to plug gaping holes in national security defences exposed by months of sometimes violent anti-government protests that rocked the city over the previous year.

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Former anti- Beijing lawmakers Wu Chi-wai and Eddie Chu were arrested at their homes on charges related to organising and participating in the protest, according to Facebook posts on their respective pages.

On Monday, the US House of Representatives voted unanimously Monday to make it easier for residents of Hong Kong to live in the United States, following similar steps by Britain and Canada.

The legislation introduced new crimes, including conspiring with foreigners to provoke "hatred" of the Chinese government or the Hong Kong authorities.

The Trump administration in August imposed sanctions on Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, the territory's current and former police chiefs and other top officials for what it said was their role in curtailing freedoms in a crackdown on the territory's pro-democracy movement.

Also in November, pro-democracy lawmakers resigned en masse from Hong Kong's Legislative Council after the disqualification of four of their colleagues.

"These actions demonstrate once again Beijing's complete disregard for its worldwide commitments under the Sino-British Joint Declaration, a United Nations -registered treaty".

The Five Eyes intelligence-sharing group comprised of Australia, Britain, Canada, New Zealand and the USA said the move appeared to be part of a campaign to silence critics, and called on China to reverse course.