Hong Kong: The recent arrests of former lawmakers and pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong have raised some serious concerns by Foreign Ministers of Canada, the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom. These countries have issued a joint statement condemning the recent mass arrests and expressed their “serious concern” at the mass arrests of 55 politicians and activists for subversion under the National Security Law. Denouncing the National Security Law, imposed by Beijing last year, the foreign ministers said it is a clear violation of the Sino-British Joint Declaration and undermines the “One Country, Two Systems” framework.
“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. It is crucial that the postponed Legislative Council elections in September proceed in a fair way that includes candidates representing a range of political opinions,” read the statement of above mentioned nations’ foreign ministers.
According to reports, the arrests were made on Wednesday over unofficial election primaries held last year to field enough pro-democracy candidates to take control of the Hong Kong legislative council, presently controlled by pro-Beijing lawmakers. Police is also said to have raided the homes of former lawmakers and activists, who had participated in the primaries. The house activist Joshua Wong, who is currently serving a sentence in jail for organising and participating in a protest last year, was also raided by the police. Meanwhile, the legislative elections that were scheduled to take place in September 2020 were reportedly called-off by the Hong Kong election commission citing COVID-19 concerns.
It is to be mentioned that the pro-democracy election primaries were held last year in the month of July despite of the warning of some politicians stating that the event could violate the national security law. Furthermore, the primaries were held to build support among the voters which managed to attract more than 6,00,000 eligible electors. However, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam had stated that if the primaries were aimed at resisting every policy initiative by the city then it could be in violation of the national security law.