Hong Kongers call USA violence a setback for democracy

Embedded Image

The mass arrests of largely moderate pro-democracy campaigners accelerate an ongoing political crackdown in the Asian financial hub, which has prompted condemnation from foreign governments, USA sanctions and the suspension of numerous extradition treaties with Hong Kong.

Six were arrested for subverting state power by organizing the unofficial primaries, while the rest were arrested for allegedly participating in the event, Li said.

Police in Washington said four people died and 52 were arrested after Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday in an attempt to stop Congress from certifying President-elect Joe Biden's election victory.

US lawmakers called the attack on Congress an embarrassment to USA democracy that would play into the hands of rivals, and deputy national security adviser Matt Pottinger, a leading figure in the development of Trump's China policy, was among a list of officials who quit in protest. He said more arrests could be made and investigations were ongoing.

Beijing's top representative office in Hong Kong said in a statement it firmly supported the arrests.

"We don't see how by promising to exercise such rights could end them up as being subversive", he added.

However, Hong Kong shares of China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom staged a strong rebound on Tuesday after the New York Stock Exchange halted their delisting process.

Friends and family of Wong, who is serving a 13 1/2-month prison sentence for organizing and participating in an unauthorized protest in 2019, were informed that he was arrested on suspicion of violating the national security law and was taken away to give a statement on the new charge, according to a post on his Facebook page.

Embedded Image
Benny Tai center arrives at the Ma On Shan Police Station after being arrested in Hong Kong on Jan. 6

The security law punishes what China broadly defines as secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces with up to life in jail. The primary was condemned by China's top agencies for Hong Kong as an "unlawful manipulation" of the city's election system and a violation of the national security law.

Western nations accused Hong Kong authorities of "grave repression" and a "grievous attack" on the freedoms that were promised under the "One Country, Two Systems" setup when the British colony was returned to China.

July 17: Taiwanese officials in Hong Kong are told their visas will not be renewed unless they sign a document supporting Beijing's claim to Taiwan under its "one China" policy.

"The operation today targets the active elements who are suspected to be involved in the crime of overthrowing or interfering seriously to destroy the Hong Kong government's legal execution of duties", Lee told reporters.

The Civil Human Rights Front, which organized some of 2019's biggest protests, said Wednesday that it "strongly condemns police for taking the law out of context and conducting mass arrests to create white terror and harm the Hong Kong people's freedom of speech, freedom of the press, right to vote and the right to stand for elections".

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States was considering sanctions and other restrictions on those involved in the arrests.

More than 600,000 Hong Kongers voted in the July primary election, largely selecting newer candidates who favored a more aggressive approach toward the government, rather than more familiar moderate faces.

"The veneer of rule of law is also applied in mainland China stripped of any meaning".