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US, UK, Canada condemn arrests of democracy advocates in Hong Kong

By Caribbean News Global

TORONTO, Canada –  The United States, the UK, and Canada have condemned the arrest of pro-democracy advocates in Hong Kong. Arrested Saturday were 81-year-old activist and former lawmaker Martin Lee and democracy advocates Albert Ho, Lee Cheuk-yan and Au Nok-hin. Media tycoon Jimmy Lai, founded of the local newspaper Apple Daily.

“Beijing and its representatives in Hong Kong continue to take actions inconsistent with commitments made under the Sino-British Joint Declaration that include transparency, the rule of law, and guarantees that Hong Kong will continue to “enjoy a high degree of autonomy.” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, referring to the 1997 handover of the former British colony to China, which promised the city would enjoy political freedoms not afforded mainland China.

Beijing has accused the US and other Western countries of instigating the protests and insists they’re China’s internal affairs.

The Office of the Commissioner of the Chinese foreign ministry in Hong Kong said police were enforcing the law against those suspected of organizing and participating in unauthorized assemblies, and foreign countries have no right to interfere, China’s official Xinhua News Agency reported.

The UK foreign office criticized the arrests, saying “the right to peaceful protest is fundamental to Hong Kong’s way of life and as such is protected in both the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law.”

“It is completely wrong that the UK Foreign Office spokesperson has distorted the truth by painting unauthorized assemblies as `peaceful protests,’ in a bid to whitewash, condone and exonerate the anti-China troublemakers in Hong Kong,” the statement said.

On Sunday, François-Philippe Champagne, minister of foreign affairs, issued the following statement:

“Canada is concerned by the arrests of political figures in Hong Kong on April 18 in relation to popular demonstrations that took place last year and believes that this extraordinary measure calls for close scrutiny.

“With hundreds of thousands of Canadians living in Hong Kong, we have a vested interest in Hong Kong’s stability and prosperity—the foundation of which is its relative autonomy and basic freedoms.

“We urge all sides involved in the crisis to exercise restraint, to refrain from violence and to engage in peaceful and inclusive dialogue to address the legitimate concerns expressed during the 2019 protests.

“Canada supports the right of peaceful protest and Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy and freedoms under the Basic Law and the One Country, Two Systems framework.  Canada will continue to closely monitor the situation in Hong Kong.”



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