Hong Kong ‘Captain America’ activist 2nd to be convicted under national security law

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Oct. 26 (UPI) — An activist in Hong Kong known as “Captain America,” for holding the superhero’s shield during protests, has become the second person to be convicted under China’s controversial national security law.

Ma Chun-man was convicted on Monday of inciting secession, for demonstrating, chanting slogans and making speeches in support of Hong Kong independence on nearly two dozen occasions last year.

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Ma’s conviction was handed down by District Court Judge Stanley Chan, who said his speech demonstrated an intention to incite secession. He will be sentenced Nov. 11 and faces as many as seven years in prison.

Ma is the second person to be convicted under the national security law, which was enacted more than a year ago to restrict activities viewed by Beijing as subversive, terrorist or secessionist in nature.

Ma’s attorney said that his activities were intended to prove that free speech in Hong Kong was still alive.

Activist Tong Ying-kit was the first person convicted under the national security law. He was sentenced to nine years in prison in July.

Earlier Monday, Amnesty International announced that it will close its Hong Kong offices by the end of 2021 because the national security law has made it “impossible for human rights organizations in Hong Kong to work freely and without fear of serious reprisals from the government.”

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Amnesty International has operated its Hong Kong offices for 40 years.