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Hong Kong: Veteran activist arrested ahead of protest

February 4, 2022

Koo Sze-yiu planned to protest Beijing's hosting of the Winter Games outside China's Liaison Office in Hong Kong. Those plans were scuppered, though, by his arrest early on Friday morning.

Hong Kong activist Koo Sze-yiu speaks to the media after arriving at a court in September 2020
Koo Sze-yiu, pictured here at a September 2020 court appearance, was arrested ahead of his planned protest against the Beijing Winter OlympicsImage: Kin Cheung/AP Photo/picture alliance

A veteran Hong Kong activist was arrested Friday, just days after he announced plans to protest against Beijing's hosting of the Winter Olympics.

Koo Sze-yiu intended to demonstrate outside government offices in Hong Kong and had invited local media to attend.

He was arrested early on Friday at his home under a national security law, local media including the South China Morning Post reported. Wen Wei Po, a newspaper that answers to China's Liaison Office in Hong Kong, said Koo was arrested by national security police.

Human rights concerns

Earlier this week, Koo had publicly invited media to attend him presenting on Friday in front of the Liaison Office — the agency which represents the Chinese government in the nominally semi-autonomous enclave.

Koo said that China was continuing to ignore "unjust" cases of imprisonment in Hong Kong, while showcasing the Winter Games.

"Don't forget that human rights are being oppressed in Hong Kong!'' he wrote in the declaration of intent.

Muted countdown to Beijing Olympics

'Coffin Winter Olympics'

He said that authorities had exploited the national security law to imprison dissidents or those who criticize the Chinese government.

Koo designed his media statement with enlarged letters that read "Coffin Winter Olympics."

There has been global criticism over the repression of the Uyghurs in northern China, of Beijing's treatment of Tibetans, as well as the clampdown on opposing voices in Hong Kong. More recently, there has been widespread concern over the wellbeing of tennis player Peng Shuai, who accused a Chinese government official of sexually abusing her. She has since denied making the allegation, which she posted on social media before it was quickly taken down. When retracting her initial comments, she said she wanted time alone and would not be speaking or appearing in public very often.

Watch: Uyghurs demand Winter Olympics boycott

Diplomatic boycott

Due to such human rights concerns, some countries, including the United States, Great Britain and Japan, have announced "diplomatic boycotts" of the Beijing Winter Olympic Games.

Although Germany is not part of the diplomatic boycott, Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and President Frank-Walter Steinmeier have all not traveled to Beijing for the event.

jsi/msh (AP, AFP)