The new national security law imposed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in Hong Kong allowed the police to arrest four teenagers, aged between 16 and 21, just for broadcasting messages allegedly inciting secession, aggravating the repression in the city.

Under the new law, all people who participate in protests, chant slogans, or wave flags are considered to be violators of the law, forcing the leaders of Hong Kong’s autonomy movement to flee to other countries.

“If we continue in our persistence, we will definitely see the revival of the rule of law in Hong Kong one day,” wrote Benny Tai, an associate professor of law at a university from which he was fired, The Associated Press reported July 30.

Tai was sentenced to 16 months in jail as one of nine leaders who took part in the 2014 protests seeking democracy, known as the Umbrella Movement, and was released on bail.

A number of other citizens were also imprisoned for their activities to restore their rights. These rights were taken away by the CCP after it broke the international treaty in which it pledged to respect those very rights.

Hong Kong was a UK colony until it was transferred to the CCP, under the guarantee of respecting the autonomy it had been granted, which did not happen.

The imprisoned students are accused because “they said they want to establish a Hong Kong republic, and they will fight for it without reservation,” the police commander said.

“They also said they want to unite all the pro-independence groups in Hong Kong for this purpose,” the same official added.

The law severely punishes dissent with penalties of up to life in prison, when it convicts those accused of “foreign interference” or sponsorship of a “terrorist” organization.

The measures taken by the CCP against Hong Kongers were rejected by several countries.

In addition, the United Kingdom offered residence to some 3 million Hong Kong residents, and Australia is considering sheltering others under special circumstances.

The United States strongly supports the autonomy of the city, so it issued sanctions against banks or people involved in repressive actions against it.

At the same time, Canada and New Zealand suspended their respective extradition agreements with the CCP, in solidarity with the Hong Kong people who settle in their countries.

“Using the national security law to erode fundamental freedoms and create an atmosphere of coercion and self-censorship is a tragedy for Hong Kong,” said the U.S. Consul General in Hong Kong and Macau, Hanscom Smith, according to the Taipei Times.