After receiving criticism from the US, UK, Australia, and Canada over the mass arrest of 50 activists in Hong Kong, the city state government responded saying that the countries are guilty of having “double standards”. A Hong Kong government spokesperson said that the security law is applied to every person in the city and no one is above the law. According to the South China Morning Post, Hong Kong’s government also called the remarks by the countries “slander” and further added that safeguarding national security through legislation is in line with international practice.
The Hong Kong government spokesperson said, "We are appalled by remarks made by some overseas government officials that seemed to suggest that people with certain political beliefs should be immune to legal sanctions." He added, "The arrests were made based on evidence and in strict accordance with the laws."
The Hong Kong opposition lawmakers and activists were arrested on January 6 on subversion charges with authorities accusing them of a plot to "overthrow" the government. Foreign Ministers of Canada, the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom issued a joint statement condemning the recent mass arrests. They expressed their "serious concern” and said that the National Security Law, imposed by Beijing last year, is a clear violation of the Sino-British Joint Declaration and undermines the "One Country, Two Systems" framework.
"We call on the Hong Kong and Chinese central authorities to respect the legally guaranteed rights and freedoms of the people of Hong Kong without fear of arrest and detention. It is crucial that the postponed Legislative Council elections in September proceed in a fair way that includes candidates representing a range of political opinions," foreign ministers from the above-mentioned four nations said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the mass arrests were made on Wednesday over unofficial election primaries held last year to field enough pro-democracy candidates to take control of the Hong Kong legislative council, currently controlled by pro-Beijing lawmakers. Police raided the homes of former lawmakers and activists, who had participated in the primaries.
The house of jailed activist Joshua Wong, who is currently serving a sentence for organising and participating in a protest last year, was also raided by the police. Further, the arrest of John Clancey, who is a prominent Hong Kong lawmaker and US citizens, marked the first use of National Security law against a foreigner.