US, UK, Australia, Canada condemn arrests in Hong Kong

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The United States joined Australia, the United Kingdom and Canada on Sunday in condemning the recent arrests of dozens of pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong.

Fifty-five people – including US human rights lawyer John Clancey – were arrested last week for participating in informal electoral primaries for the parliamentary elections, in violation of a Chinese law to suppress dissent in Hong Kong semi-autonomous.

“It is clear that the National Security Act is being used to suppress dissent and opposing political views,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his counterparts from the other three countries said in a joint letter released Sunday.

“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.”

Those arrested under the law have not been formally charged and nearly all have been released without bail.

The Hong Kong government retaliated with its own statement, defending law enforcement.

“We are appalled at the remarks made by some foreign government officials who seemed to suggest that people with certain political beliefs should be immune from legal sanctions,” the statement said.

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 in judging countries like the United States.

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