US calls for 'immediate release' of Hong Kong pro-democracy activists

WION Web Team
Hong Kong Published: Mar 01, 2021, 08.00 AM(IST)

Antony Blinken Photograph:( Reuters )

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The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called for the immediate release of the Hong Kong dissidents who have been detained under security law

A few hours after Hong Kong authorities made mass arrests of several dozens of Hong Kong pro-democracy campaigners, the US has voiced its concern over the matter.

On Sunday, the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called for the immediate release of the Hong Kong dissidents who have been detained under the controversial national security law, which was imposed by China last year.

Also read | Dozens of Hong Kong democrats charged under national security law

"We condemn the detention of and charges filed against pan-democratic candidates in Hong Kong's elections and call for their immediate release," Blinken tweeted.

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"Political participation and freedom of expression should not be crimes. The US stands with the people of Hong Kong."

The statement has come after the Hong Kong officials charged nearly 47 pro-democracy activists with 'conspiracy to commit subversion', in what is being termed as the largest national security operation since the law was passed in June 2020.

Also read | Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai denied bail due to risk of 'committing further offences'

Among the arrested activists, other names such as Benny Tai, co-organiser of the of an unofficial primary election held last summer, John Clancey, a US citizen and human rights lawyer, a group of younger “resistance camp” democratic activists including Lester Shum, Sam Cheung, Ventus Lau and Fergus Leung were summoned to the local police stations.

The democrats have denounced these mass arrests as political persecution for a 'peaceful' poll that saw nearly 600,000 votes.

"Democracy is never a gift from heaven. It must be earned by many with strong will," Jimmy Sham, a key organiser of 2019's huge protests, told reporters outside a police station. "We can tell the whole world, under the most painful system, Hong Kongers are the light of the city. We will remain strong and fight for what we want."

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