(Right Country) – In the United States, now more than ever, many Americans avoid buying products if they find those three little words, “Made in China,” printed on them.
In Hong Kong, selling items that say “Not made in China” will apparently get you arrested.
Breitbart reports that, on Monday, a member of a pro-democracy group in Hong Kong was arrested for allegedly violating a Trade Descriptions Ordinance by selling masks labeled “Not made in China,” according to local public broadcaster Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK).
Demosisto vice-chairman Isaac Cheng, 20 became the second member of the group to be arrested in the last few days, after Tobias Leung Yin-fung, 24, was arrested on the same charges on Friday, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported.
Both the activists have been released on bail.
“The 20-year-old man [Cheng] arrested today has been released on bail and case investigation is ongoing,” Customs said in a statement on Monday.
Amid the Chinese coronavirus pandemic, Demosisto has been selling masks with the label “not made in China” since April, according to SCMP. When Leung was arrested last week, the spokesman for Hong Kong’s Customs and Excise Department said that “the trader” of the masks [Leung] “had failed to offer authentication that the masks complied with what was stated on the label,” violating the city’s Trade Descriptions Ordinance. The department reportedly told Demosisto that the group could not legally assert that its masks were “not made in China,” if the products were manufactured in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau, or China.
Hong Kong and Macau are “special administrative regions” of China, allowed autonomy but not sovereignty according to local laws. Taiwan is a sovereign nation whose government operations totally independently of Beijing.
Last Friday, customs seized 32,725 masks from Demosisto’s headquarters, which were worth about HK$93,500 [$12,000], in addition to arresting Leung.
This resulted in an accusation of “political repression” from the activist groups, which officials denied on Monday, RTHK noted.
Customs strongly condemns any false accusation maliciously alleging that its law enforcement action against the trader is ‘political repression.’ The department stresses that its ‘Guardian’ operation, which has been running since January this year, aims to ensure that common protective items available for sale in the market comply with the regulation of relevant ordinances.
Customs and Excise Commissioner Hermes Tang issued a statement on Monday signaling the agency’s support for Beijing’s attempt to impose repressive new laws on Hong Kong in the name of national security.
“The department will collaborate with other disciplinary forces in protecting Hong Kong and safeguarding national security under the guidance of the Security Bureau,” Tang said, according to RTHK’s report.
“I also wonder what will become of Hong Kong after the National Security Law has passed. How many will be prosecuted? How many groups will be replaced? To what extent will the oppression be? Will we be transferred to China? Arrest or imprisonment?” Demosisto co-founder Joshua Wong said in a statement reported on by the Hong Kong Free Press.