US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, on January 7, threatened to slap sanctions over Hong Kong authorities as they continue to robustly arrest pro-democracy figures. In a late-night statement, Pompeo called for the immediate and unconditional release of 50 people arrested a day earlier. Hong Kong has been a hammered by pro-democracy protests since mid-2019 with over 10,000 arrests made by authorities in relation to it.
In his statement, the top American diplomat said that all those arrested by the Hong Kong authorities are “guilty of nothing but exercising the democratic rights promised to them by treaty, and due to them through virtue of their humanity”. Furthermore, he added that the US would not “stand idly” while Hong Kongers suffer under communist oppression. Thus, the country was “considering” to impose sanctions on the entities involved and also exploring restrictions against Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in the United States.
He also called out on China aligned Hong Kong authorities for arresting American nations as a part of their crackdown. “ I am also appalled by the news of the arrest of an American citizen as part of this campaign of political repression. Let me be clear: The United States will not tolerate the arbitrary detention or harassment of U.S. citizens,” he said.
Secretary Pompeo: Today’s arrests of more than 50 politicians & pro-democracy advocates by local authorities in HK is an outrage, & a reminder of the Chinese Communist Party’s contempt for its own people & the rule of law. https://t.co/vHVCW6bf19— US Con HK & Macau (@USAinHKMacau) January 7, 2021
Earlier this year, China recently passed national security law, which has been widely opposed in the autonomous region, undermines the 'one nation, two systems' doctrine. Overshadowing Hong Kong's autonomy, the law awards prison sentence to anyone found guilty of secession or subversion.
On January 6, Hong Kong Police detained the democracy campaigner Joshua Wong under the city’s new national security law, a senior police source told agencies. More than 53 prominent figures, including a US citizen, that voice dissident against the PRC and Hong Kong government were arrested by the police officers in a national crackdown on charges of “subversion”. Wong was sentenced to 13 and a half months in prison for organizing the democracy protests across the semi-autonomous city and was arrested by the Hing Kong police from Shek Pik Prison as Beijing tightened control over the territory, a police officer told sources of AP.