US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday vowed to protect Hong Kong pro-democracy campaigners who have fled the SAR and denounced Beijing amid reports that Hong Kong police had ordered the arrests of overseas activists.
"The Chinese Communist Party cannot tolerate the free thinking of its own people, and increasingly is trying to extend its reach outside China's borders," Pompeo said in a statement.
"The United States and other free nations will continue to protect our peoples from the long arm of Beijing's authoritarianism."
State media said late on Friday that Hong Kong police had ordered the arrest of six pro-democracy activists living in exile on suspicion of violating a the new national security law.
One of them, Samuel Chu, head of the Washington-based Hong Kong Democracy Council, wrote on Twitter that he has been a US citizen for 25 years.
The most prominent person targeted was 27-year-old campaigner Nathan Law, who recently fled Hong Kong for Britain and called the charges against him "trumped up".
Hong Kong police refused to comment on the charges.
But China's ambassador to the United States, Cui Tiankai, appeared to confirm and defend the charges.
"All these law enforcement actions are taken according to the law," Cui said in response to a question at the Aspen Security Forum.
"Anybody, if they violate the law, they should be punished. That's it. It doesn't matter what kind of political views they might have."
The United States has denounced the security law and said it would end special treatment for Hong Kong.
The Beijing and Hong Kong governments have consistently refuted foreign criticism of the legislation, which they say is needed to end chaos in the SAR. They insist the law is purely an internal matter for China and say other countries have no right to interfere. (AFP/RTHK)
Last updated: 2020-08-05 HKT 05:46
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