Hong Kong has faced nearly six months of intense political unrest over the growing influence of Beijing in the former British colony, meant to enjoy a "high degree of autonomy" under the terms of its 1997 handover to China. The uprising was initially sparked by a bill that would have allowed some citizens to be extradited to mainland China.
Separately, the newspaper confirmed that a Taiwanese man, Lee Meng-Chu, was also arrested by police in nearby Shenzhen city on Oct 31, for allegedly stealing state secrets for foreign forces after he made a trip to Hong Kong in August to support "anti-China" activities.
After three consecutive days of intense clashes resulting in more than 200 demonstrators and officers wounded, a week ago the police began arrests among those trying to flee the university, while others surrendered of their own will. Activists handed a petition to a British Consulate official before leaving. Cheng says he agreed to confess to avoid harsher charges.
Hundreds of older activists have joined young protesters for a unity rally at a Hong Kong park, vowing that their months-long movement will not fade away until there is greater democracy in the Chinese territory.
The violence has done little to dampen public support though, with pro-democracy candidates winning a landslide victory in local council elections over the weekend.
Hong Kong's leader, Carrie Lam, has appealed for the current calm to continue but has refused to bow to protesters' demands, which include free elections for her post and the legislature as well as an independent probe into alleged police brutality.
Current elections in Hong Kong led to a surge in pro-democracy applicants that procured almost 90 percent of district council chairs. Protesters disrupted traffic in at least two places but dispersed after police issued warnings.
China Summons US Ambassador Over Hong Kong Bills
US President Donald Trump has signed into law a bill that supports pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong . It also claims the US has "sinister intentions" and its "plot" is "doomed to fail".
Protesters this week have urged Britain and other countries to follow US footsteps in legislating laws to support its cause.
The United States has officially signed the Human Rights and Democracy Act.
The protesters, including teenage students and elderly people, gathered in a park in the heart of Hong Kong on Saturday.
Investors were uncertain about the fate of a "phase-one" trade deal between the two economies, after Beijing warned the United States on Thursday it would take "firm countermeasures" in response to the USA legislation.
The drill was held three weeks before the 20th anniversary of Macau's return to Chinese administration under the "one country, two systems" policy on December 20.
After signing the bill on Wednesday, Trump said he did so "out of respect for" Xi, China and the people of Hong Kong.
Senior members of Hong Kong Polytechnic University toured buildings strewn with debris after police left, including a sports hall and a ruined coffee shop, seeing smashed windows and charred piles of former barricades. No protesters were found inside. The university estimates it would take five to six months to fix the damage. The movement has since expanded into a protest against growing Chinese interference in the city.