Blinken Condemns China’s Single Largest Mass Arrest Of Hong Kong Democracy Activists Yet
Over the weekend Chinese authorities launched a spate of arrests of Hong Kong pro-democracy activists over „conspiracy to commit subversion“ related to initiatives to hold an unofficial primary election during the summer of last year.
Given that a whopping 47 mostly young activists were charged, it caught the attention of Washington. Secretary of State Antony Blinkin condemned the crackdown and urged their immediate release. „We condemn the detention of and charges filed against pan-democratic candidates in Hong Kong’s elections and call for their immediate release. Political participation and freedom of expression should not be crimes. The U.S. stands with the people of Hong Kong,“ Blinken Sunday evening.
It marks the single largest mass charge related to the sweeping national security law against Hong Kong’s opposition movement yet.
Some of the details of the allegations were reviewed by the Associated Press as follows:
The pro-democracy camp had held the primaries to determine the best candidates to field to win a majority in the legislature and had plans to vote down major bills that would eventually force Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam to resign.
In January, 55 activists and former lawmakers were arrested for their roles in the primaries.
Authorities said that the activists’ participation was part of a plan to paralyze the city’s legislature and subvert state power.
In a separate interview Sunday with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Blinken described various options the administration has for punishing China over the rights violations, linking the Hong Kong controversy also with the plight of Uyghurs in Xinjiang province.
„First of all, it is really important to speak up, to speak out, and to do so with other countries who share our abhorrence at what is – what’s happening to Uyghurs in Xinjiang or, for that matter, what’s happening to democracy in Hong Kong,” Blinken said.
We condemn the detention of and charges filed against pan-democratic candidates in Hong Kong’s elections and call for their immediate release. Political participation and freedom of expression should not be crimes. The U.S. stands with the people of Hong Kong.
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) March 1, 2021
„But in terms of practical measures, I think there are a number of things that can be done. For example, countries should not be supplying any products or technology that can be used for the repression of people in China; for example, the Uyghurs,“ Biden’s Secretary of State continued.
„Similarly, countries should look at making sure they’re not importing products that are made with forced labor. Those are very practical things that countries can do and focus on to make sure that not only is our voice loud but our actions are too.“
Meanwhile in a move seen as finally and fully cementing the mainland’s control over Hong Kong, China’s Communist Party is currently initiating reforms of the city’s electoral system. Early last week Xia Baolong, the director of China’s cabinet-level Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, said ‚election reform‘ will „ensure that Hong Kong’s governance is firmly controlled by patriots.“
Just as it sounds, this is expected to be the final nail in the coffin in terms of the death of any level of true Hong Kong autonomy, ending what the national security law that was implemented in June 2020.