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US condemns sentencing of seven Hong Kong pro-democracy activists: Blinken

ANI
·2-min read
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (File Photo)
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (File Photo)

Washington DC [US], April 17 (ANI): The United States condemned the sentencing of seven pro-democracy activists who took part in a peaceful assembly of 1.7 million people in Hong Kong, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Friday.

"The United States condemns the sentencing of seven pro-democracy leaders on politically-motivated charges. Beijing and Hong Kong authorities are targeting Hong Kongers for doing nothing more than exercising protected rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of speech," Blinken said in a statement.

"Today's sentences are yet another example of how the PRC and Hong Kong authorities undermine protected rights and fundamental freedoms guaranteed by the Basic Law and the Sino-British Joint Declaration in an effort to eliminate all forms of dissent. The seven pro-democracy leaders - Martin Lee, Jimmy Lai, Albert Ho, Margaret Ng, Cyd Ho, Lee Cheuk-yan, and Leung Kwok-hung - participated in a peaceful assembly attended by 1.7 million Hong Kongers," the statement added.

Blinken further said that the US will continue to stand with Hong Kongers as they respond to Beijing's assault on these freedoms and autonomy, and we will not stop calling for the release of those detained or imprisoned for exercising their fundamental freedoms.

The US State Department spokesperson Ned Price on Thursday had condemned the conviction of seven activists who took part in anti-government protests in Hong Kong by the Chinese and Hong Kong authorities.

This subversion was made a criminally punishable offence in Hong Kong last year, under the Beijing-drafted national security law.

Meanwhile, Beijing believes the legislation criminalises activities related to terrorism, separatism, subversion of state power and collusion with foreign forces, while local pro-democracy activists and certain Western nations claim that the law undermines Hong Kong's civil liberties and democratic freedoms.

Beijing was perturbed by violent anti-government protests in 2019 and has imposed the national security law to take action against those who protested against the government. (ANI)