Thu, 26 Nov 2020

Washington [US], October 29 (ANI): US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo on Thursday condemned the "Chinese-controlled Hong Kong Police Force" for arresting three student democracy activists under the draconian national security law and demanded their immediate release.

"The United States strongly condemns the arrest and detention of three student democracy activists and calls on Hong Kong authorities to release those that remain detained immediately. The Beijing-controlled Hong Kong government continues to stifle dissent, repress public opinion, and use law enforcement for political purposes," said Pompeo in a press statement.

He further said that China has violated its international obligations under the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration.

"Chinese Communist Party and its Hong Kong proxies crush the promised autonomy of Hong Kong, and eviscerate Hong Kong's respect for human rights, including the rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression," he said.

The United States stands with the people of Hong Kong, he added.

Earlier, CNN had reported Studentlocalism, a onetime pro-independence group, identifying the three arrested on Facebook as its former convenor Tony Chung, and former members William Chan and Yanni Ho.

The Hong Kong Kong Police has reported that the two men and one woman -- aged between 17 and 21 -- were arrested Tuesday for allegedly making secessionist comments on social media.

A little known United Kingdom-based activist organisation, Friends of Hong Kong, said that it had been working with Chung and he had been planning to claim asylum at the US consulate to Hong Kong prior to his arrest, CNN reported.

The three Studentlocalism members were earlier arrested in July over some posts made on social media by a page representing the international wing of the group.

While the Hong Kong branch of the organisation have said that it had disbanded after the imposition of national security law in the city, the police have accused Chung and others, who are based in Hong Kong, of continuing to advocate for the city's independence from China.

As per the national security law, such crime will land the accused in a sentence of three to 10 years or even life imprisonment for offences of a "grave nature", CNN said.

Anti-government protests have been rocking Hong Kong since last year. The enactment of draconian national security law in Hong Kong in June to stop people from protesting has intensified the demonstrations.

The national security law imposed by Beijing on Hong Kong criminalises any act of secession (breaking away from China), subversion (undermining the power or authority of the central government), terrorism and collusion with foreign forces, with punishments of up to life in prison. It came into effect from July 1. (ANI)

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