Australia, US, UK, Canada criticise Hong Kong mass arrests

Clay Curtis
January 12, 2021

The office firmly supports the HKSAR government in its administration according to law and the police in strictly enforcing the law to promote the steady and far-reaching development of "One Country, Two Systems" under the protection of the national security law in Hong Kong.

The spokesperson for the office said that the 53 arrested persons were blatantly plotting to paralyze the HKSAR government and were suspected of crimes of subversion of state power stipulated in Article 22 of the Law of the People's Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the HKSAR.

Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and USA condemned the largest crackdown yet under Hong Kong's controversial national security law in a joint statement issued on Sunday.

The arrests marked the largest move against the pro-democracy movement since the controversial national security law was imposed by Beijing last June in a clampdown on protests in the territory.

Hong Kong's most prominent pro-democracy advocates were arrested as authorities said last year's unofficial vote to choose opposition candidates in city elections was part of a plan to "overthrow" the government.

On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo had slammed Beijing over the arrests by calling it an outrage and a reminder of the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) contempt for its own people.

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"We call on the Hong Kong and Chinese central authorities to respect the legally guaranteed rights and freedoms of the people of Hong Kong without fear of arrest and detention", the group of ministers said. He further said that Washington will consider sanctions and other restrictions on any and all individuals and entities involved in executing this assault on Hong Kong people. All but three have been released on bail pending further investigation.

China has condemned Australia, the U.S., the United Kingdom and Canada for speaking out over the arrest of Hong Kong democracy activists, saying those nations have grossly interfered in internal affairs.

The commerce department will then assess the case for its potential violation of worldwide law, impact on China's sovereignty and national security, and impact on Chinese citizens.

The four foreign ministers said the next legislative election should include candidates representing a range of political opinions.

The statement was signed by foreign secretary Dominic Raab, US secretary of state Mike Pompeo, and the Australian and Canadian foreign ministers, Marise Payne and Francois-Philippe Champagne.

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