British Prime Minister Boris Johnson (file photo). Photograph:( Reuters )
Lai, an ardent critic of Beijing, is the highest profile person charged under the sweeping new law imposed on the Chinese-ruled city in June
The United Kingdom said on Friday that it is 'deeply concerned' after Hong Kong's media mogul Jimmy Lai charged by China under the city's national security law on suspicion of colluding with foreign forces and endangering national security.
"The UK remains deeply concerned about the Hong Kong authorities' focus on pursuing legal cases against pro-democracy figures like Jimmy Lai," a spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson told reporters.
"We have raised this case with the authorities and will continue to lobby them at senior levels to end their targeting of pro-democracy voices."
Lai, an ardent critic of Beijing, is the highest profile person charged under the sweeping new law imposed on the Chinese-ruled city in June.
The law has been condemned by the West and human rights groups as a tool to crush dissent. Authorities in Hong Kong and Beijing say it is vital to plug gaping holes in national security defenses exposed by months of sometimes violent anti-government and anti-China protests that rocked the city over the last year.
Britain, which ruled Hong Kong for over 150 years until it handed it back to China in 1997, says a new security law imposed on the territory by Beijing just before midnight on June 30 was a breach of the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration that paved the way for the handover.
London has also objected to new rules imposed by mainland China to disqualify elected legislators in Hong Kong, and to what it describes as retribution by the territory's executive against political opposition and silencing of dissent.
"This has been, and continues to be, the most concerning period in Hong Kong’s post-handover history," Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab wrote in his foreword to the latest in a regular series of six-monthly reports on Hong Kong.