London, Jan 6 (AFP/APP): Britain on Wednesday criticized the arrests of more than 50 pro-democracy figures in Hong Kong, accusing China of deceiving citizens in the city about the true purpose of its national security law.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab called the detentions “a grievous attack on Hong Kong’s rights and freedoms” in Britain’s former colony, which were enshrined in a 1984 pact with China before it was returned to Beijing in 1997.
Police in Hong Kong arrested the 53 people on charges of “subversion” in early morning raids, in their largest operation since a draconian security law was imposed on the financial hub last year.
The charges were sparked by an attempt by opposition groups last year to win a majority in the city’s partially-elected legislature. However, Raab said the police operation involving about 1,000 officers demonstrated “that the Hong Kong and Chinese authorities deliberately misled the world about the true purpose” of the security law.
It is “being used to crush dissent and opposing political views”, he added. Britain has spoken out repeatedly about the increasingly draconian clampdown in Hong Kong, angering Beijing by relaxing entry rules for Hong Kong holders of British National (Overseas) passports — a legacy of the final years of Britain’s 156-year rule over the territory.
“The UK will not turn our backs on the people of Hong Kong and will continue to offer BNOs the right to live and work in the UK,” Raab said.
Stay tuned to Baaghi TV for updates and more news!