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Four students arrested in Hong Kong under new law

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New Zealand Foriegn Minister Winston Peters

"Don't think you can escape from the responsibility in cyberspace and commit crimes", Lee included. Police said the four were suspected of posting content that violated the legislation in July. Under the new law, the crime of secession carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

New Zealand is following the lead of its Five Eyes intelligence allies by suspending its extradition treaty with Hong Kong.

In its statement Hong Kong's government gave a list of political views and actions it said breached those commitments.

The first arrests that followed the promulgation of the law targeted people with independence flags.

At least 15 people have now been arrested under the new law since it was enacted on June 30.

The United States has signalled it was preparing to do the same, having already announced plans to rescind Hong Kong's special trading privileges. The legislation was inserted into the city's mini-constitution, bypassing the local legislature and giving police sweeping new powers.

Nathan Law, a democracy campaigner who went into exile after the law was imposed, expressed similar sentiments on Twitter. "How susceptible a nation is to be concerned of a post by a team of young adults?"

But Foreign Minister Winston Peters said on Tuesday the new security law went against commitments China had made to the global community.

Mr Lee said: "Hong Kong politics keeps changing".

The Hong Kong Police Department complained in an update on criminal behavior in the city on Wednesday that an ordinance mandating the wearing of sanitary masks in public has made their work more hard, placing law enforcement at odds with the local government.

"New Zealand can no longer trust that Hong Kong's criminal justice system is sufficiently independent from China".

"I hope that people understand that any delay is due to the safety of the community and not to political considerations. Hong Kong individuals nonetheless have a right to vote freely", Tong explained.

The city's Registration and Electoral Office stated it was "closely monitoring" the coronavirus break out in the city and its possible effects the election and would "listen to advice from the Government and health experts".

Pro-democracy figures have denounced any suggestion to postpone the election.

Among the candidates was pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong. The disqualification of Civic Party candidates signals Beijing is becoming less tolerant of even moderate democrats, who have for decades been a vocal opposition in the legislature. Earlier this month, they held an unofficial primary, with candidates including Wong topping the polls.

The organization has declared it aims "to establish a Hong Kong Republic, to fight for Hong Kong's independence by any means and unite all interested parties to join force in doing so", Li Kwai-wah, a senior officer of the newly established department, told reporters.

CNN's Isaac Yee, Vanesse Chan, Philip Wang, Jadyn Sham and Sarah Faidell contributed to the reports.

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