The UK’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab on Wednesday said that the national security law imposed on Hong Kong is being used to crush dissent and their views.
The statement came after 53 pro-democracy figures were arrested in Hong Kong on Wednesday morning—the largest mass arrest so far since the national security law went into effect on June 30.
“The mass arrest of politicians and activists in Hong Kong is a grievous attack on Hong Kong’s rights and freedoms as protected under the Joint Declaration,” Raab said in a statement.
“These arrests demonstrate that the Hong Kong and Chinese authorities deliberately misled the world about the true purpose of the National Security Law, which is being used to crush dissent and opposing political views,” he added.
“The UK will not turn our backs on the people of Hong Kong and will continue to offer British Nationals (Overseas) the right to live and work in the UK.”
The mass arrest of politicians & activists in Hong Kong is a grievous attack on rights and freedoms.
These arrests demonstrate the intended use of the National Security law is to clamp down on dissent and opposing political views.https://t.co/geroW3SENO
— Dominic Raab (@DominicRaab) January 6, 2021
Shadow Foreign Secretary Lisa Nandy earlier urged Raab to speak to Parliament on the mass arrest in Hong Kong.
“Democracy is being dismantled in Hong Kong. China is undermining the rights and freedoms guaranteed under the Basic Law and further disregarding its commitments under the Joint Declaration,” Nandy said in a tweet. “The Foreign Secretary must make a statement to Parliament.”
Chris Patten, the last British governor of Hong Kong, has urged the European Parliament to reject the investment agreement the European Commission reached with the Chinese regime last week following the mass arrests.
He said it would be “surely inconceivable” for the European Parliament to support the “miserable draft deal” the European Commission reached with Beijing on Dec. 30, which he called “a massive strategic blunder.”
Patten added that it was “extraordinary” that the EU “seems to believe that China can be trusted to sign up to international labor standards.”
EU spokesman Peter Stano told a press conference that the arrests in Hong Kong send the “signal that political pluralism is no longer tolerated in Hong Kong.” He also said that the security law is being used “to crush dissent and stifle the exercise of human rights and political freedoms.”
More than 50 pro-democracy activists, former lawmakers, and politicians were arrested in Hong Kong on Wednesday morning on suspicion of subversion, a crime under Beijing’s national security law, for their roles in a primary vote held by the pan-democracy camp to pick candidates to run in the since-canceled 2020 Legislative Council (LegCo) elections.
Alexander Zhang, Frank Fang, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.