The Foreign Ministers of Australia, United States, United Kingdom and Canada issued a joint statement on Sunday 10 in which they said they were “seriously concerned” over the arrest of 55 activists in Hong Kong last week .
The declaration was signed by Marise Payne of Australia; François-Philippe Champagne, from Canada; Dominic Raab, from the UK; and Mike Pompeo, from the United States.
“It is clear that the National Security Law is being used to eliminate differences and opposing political views,” said the letter signed by the four foreign ministers.
“With Mike Pompeo, Marise Payne and François-Philippe Champagne, the UK is making it clear that the mass arrests under the National Security Act are aimed at crushing dissent in Hong Kong, not restoring order. China must keep their word and respect people’s rights and freedoms ”.
In Hong Kong, the 55 prisons are the biggest action to combat so-called “opposing militants” since the enactment of the National Security Law that China imposed on the territory just over six months ago. . The governments of China and Hong Kong, meanwhile, say the law is needed to restore order in a city that was rocked in 2019 by months of protests.
© AP Photo / Kin Cheung
A protester waves the British flag and British passport in the mall in Hong Kong, China May 29, 2020
“We are shocked at comments from some foreign government officials who seemed to suggest that people with certain political beliefs should be immune from legal sanctions,” the Hong Kong government said in response to the chancellors’ statement.
Most of the detainees last week had participated in an informal primary election for a postponed legislative election. Authorities say the primaries were part of a plot to take control of the legislature in order to cripple the government and force the town chief to resign.
© Sputnik / Miguel Candela
Police officers detain protesters in Hong Kong
After the arrest, the 55 demonstrators were not charged. All but three have been released on bail pending an investigation. If they are found guilty, they can be disqualified from running for public office.
The four chancellors said the next legislative election is expected to include candidates representing a variety of political opinions. “We call on the central authorities of Hong Kong and China to respect the legally guaranteed rights and freedoms of the people of Hong Kong, without fear of arrest and detention,” the foreign ministers wrote.