“Political pluralism is no longer tolerated in Hong Kong,” the spokesperson for the European Union declared. The regional bloc harshly criticized the arrest of dozens of activists and opponents for participating in unofficial electoral primaries on Wednesday.
“The National Security Law is being used to crush dissent and stifle the exercise of human rights and political freedoms that are protected by Hong Kong’s basic law, as well as by international law, China’s international obligations and commitments. Therefore, we, as the European Union, call for the immediate release of the detainees, “said the chief spokesman for the European Commission, Peter Stano.
The head of British diplomacy, Dominic Raab, also criticized the arrests as a “serious attack” on the rights and freedoms of citizens.
“The mass arrest of politicians and activists in Hong Kong is a serious attack on rights and freedoms. These arrests demonstrate that the intended use of the National Security Law is to suppress dissent and opposing political opinions,” Raab wrote on his official Twitter account.
Relying on the controversial Security Law, the Hong Kong government alleges that dissidents endanger national security in their protests.
This is the largest detention since the law came into force on June 30, which punishes up to life imprisonment in cases of secession or conspiracy with foreign forces.
“When the people of Hong Kong express their opinions, no matter if it is through district council elections, primary elections or other methods, the government does not choose to listen to them but to take revenge on them,” said the leader of the Democratic Party of Hong Kong. Hong Kong, Lo Kin-hei.
Don’t mix business with politics
The EU is considering the possibility of imposing new sanctions on China for its crackdown. Last year it had limited exports of sensitive equipment and technologies whose final use will be in Hong Kong and can be used to repress the population. It also adopted a series of measures aimed at supporting civil society, such as increasing scholarships and academic exchanges with Hong Kong students and universities.
But just a week ago the EU signed with China what they called the most ambitious agreement that the Asian giant has ever made or with any country. An investment deal with geopolitical implications that has been perceived as a diplomatic victory for China.