The US joined Australia, the UK and Canada on Sunday in condemning the recent arrest of dozens of pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong.
Fifty-five people — including American human rights lawyer John Clancey — were rounded up last week for participating in unofficial election primaries for legislative elections, in violation of a Chinese law aimed at tamping down dissent in semi-autonomous Hong Kong.
“It is clear that the National Security Law is being used to eliminate dissent and opposing political views,” said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his counterparts at the three other nations in a joint letter issued Sunday.
“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.”
Those arrested under the law have not been formally charged, and almost all have been freed without bail.
Hong Kong’s government fired back with a statement of its own, defending the application of the law.
“We are appalled by remarks made by some overseas government officials that seemed to suggest that people with certain political beliefs should be immune to legal sanctions,” the statement read.
In 2019, Hong Kong was rocked by months of often violent protests demanding a more democratic government.
The Chinese Communist Party has come under fire for increasingly oppressive practices, even while sitting in judgment of nations like the US.
With Post wires
US, UK, Australia and Canada condemn Hong Kong arrests The British Journal Editors and Wire Services/ New York Post.