U.S., UK, CANADA AND AUSTRALIA BLAST MASS ARRESTS IN HONG KONG
The foreign ministers of Australia, the United States, Great Britain and Canada issued a joint statement, expressing “serious concern” about the arrest of 55 democracy activists and supporters in Hong Kong last week.
The arrests were by far the largest such action taken under a national security law that China imposed on the semi-autonomous territory a little more than six months ago, the Associated Press (AP) reported.
“It is clear that the National Security Law is being used to eliminate dissent and opposing political views,” the four foreign ministers said.
The Chinese and Hong Kong governments say the law is needed to restore order in a city that was rocked in 2019 by months of often violent anti-government protests demanding greater democracy.
Most of those arrested last week had taken part in an unofficial primary for a legislative election that was later postponed.
Authorities allege the primary was part of a plot to take control of the legislature in order to paralyze government and force the city’s leader to resign. The 55 have not been charged, and all but three have been released on bail pending further investigation. Convictions could disqualify them from running for office.
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