The EU sharply criticized China on Thursday over the arrest of 53 pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong and called for an immediate release of those detained.
The arrests were made under Hong Kong’s national security law, which was imposed by China last year and has led to widespread international criticism.
In a statement on behalf of the bloc, the EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said: “These arrests penalize political activity that should be entirely legitimate in any political system that respects basic democratic principles. They are the latest indication that the National Security Law is being used by the Hong Kong and mainland authorities to stifle political pluralism in Hong Kong, and the exercise of human rights and political freedoms that are protected under Hong Kong law and international law.
“The EU calls for the immediate release of those arrested,” the statement continued, adding that the EU also “urges the authorities to respect Hong Kong’s rule of law, human rights, democratic principles and high degree of autonomy under the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ principle, as enshrined in the Hong Kong Basic Law and in line with domestic and international obligations.”
The critical statement comes just a week after the EU finalized negotiations with China on a controversial investment agreement.
Brussels’ reaction follows similar criticism by foreign ministers of the U.K. and Germany as well as U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s pick for secretary of state, Antony Blinken, on Wednesday.
EU calls for ‘immediate’ release of activists arrested in Hong Kong The British Journal Editors and Wire Services/ Politico.