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Almost 600,000 vote in Hong Kong pro-democracy primaries

Hong Kong police raid office of election organiser before primaries

"A high turnout will send a very strong signal to the global community, that we Hong Kongers never give up", said Sunny Cheung, 24, one of a batch of aspiring young democrats out lobbying and giving stump speeches.

As bilateral tensions escalate over matters ranging from the coronavirus, trade, the new Hong Kong security law and allegations of human rights violations against Uighurs in the Xinjiang region, the USA government alerted American citizens on Saturday to "exercise increased caution" in China. Organizers denounced the move being an attempt to disrupt the vote or intimidate people, while police said it was linked to a tip about potential hacked data.

The new law prohibits what Beijing views as secessionist, subversive or terrorist activities or as foreign intervention in Hong Kong affairs.

The police raid may have assisted in assisting to publicize the primary election, however, with the news of the event circulated throughout the city. Our voice hope to be represented by our vote and let Beijing all realize that people in Hong Kong choose not to kowtow to China.

"I did surprise whether or not it would be the last time I took part in these types of a most important", Kitty Yau explained to the paper. "But I'm not afraid of any "white terror" as I'm just exercising my rights".

The primaries were held two weeks after Beijing imposed a sweeping national security law on the semi-autonomous territory in a move widely seen as chipping away at the "one country, two systems" framework under which Britain handed Hong Kong over to China in 1997.

In the hours after it became law, multiple political parties disbanded, including one founded by prominent activist Joshua Wong. Online, people scrutinized social media profiles and deleted accounts, and asked contacts to delete WhatsApp messages from them. Outlets and dining establishments that had been vocal supporters of the anti-governing administration protest movement could be observed hastily eradicating posters, for dread of remaining prosecuted under the new law.

While the government has repeatedly insisted that the law will affect only a tiny fraction of Hong Kongers and was necessary for the protection of national security, it has been convinced with widespread opposition both in the city and overseas.

Last week, Australia joined Canada in suspending its extradition treaty with Hong Kong.

The Amcham survey, published on Monday and to which 183 or 15% of its members responded on July 6-9, showed 36.6% of respondents were "somewhat" concerned and 51% were "extremely concerned" about the legislation. "This could guide to a problem the place China arrests people today based mostly on political good reasons". Almost 70% of respondents to the AmCham survey said they have gradually become more concerned about the law.

CNN's Eric Cheung contributed reporting.