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Hong Kong’s Activist Social Media Culture Under Threat

Jun 16 , 2015

A series of controversial arrests of social media activists in Hong Kong since last year’s Occupy Central movement has raised concerns that the government is exploiting the flawed cyberlaw to suppress political speech online in a period of intensifying social and political tensions.

On May 29, Tam Tak-chi, leader of the radical democratic coalition People Power, was arrested for a Facebook post that authorities argued “incited others to commit illegal acts” during road the funeral of Beijing loyalist Yeung Kwong’s body. He was later released on bail and believed the arrest was to warn him not to participate in the June 4 vigil, the Legislative Council’s vote on the political reform package, and the July 1 march.

Two days earlier, Barry Ma, chairman of local pro-independence group Orchid Gardening, was arrested for suggesting on Facebook it was only reasonable to exterminate the entire family of a pro-police columnist. Two months before that, a 27-year-old autonomy group member was arrested for posting a guide on a local website about how to make weapons (e.g., gas bombs) to attack police during the anti-parallel trade protests.

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