The sentencing of nine veteran pro-democracy activists on Friday drew international criticism.
In a statement, Hong Kong’s last colonial governor, Chris Patten, noted the Chinese Communist Party (CPC)'s “comprehensive assault on the freedoms of Hong Kong and its rule of law continues relentlessly".
“This week, we have witnessed some of the most distinguished of the city’s peaceful and moderate champions of liberty and democracy placed in Beijing’s vengeful sights,” he said.
“The CCP simply does not understand that you cannot bludgeon and incarcerate people into loving a totalitarian and corrupt regime.
“All those who are conniving at destroying the Hong Kong loved by the world will be remembered in shame, even as, in due course, they scurry off from HK clutching their foreign passports."
Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific regional director, Yamini Mishra, said the sentences handed down on Friday underlined the government’s intention to “eliminate all political opposition” in Hong Kong.
“Having arrested the majority of Hong Kong’s most prominent dissidents using the repressive national security law, the authorities are now mopping up remaining peaceful critics under the pretext of bogus charges related to the 2019 protests,” Mishra said.
A member of the UK parliament, Stephen Kinnock, who is Labour’s Shadow Minister for Asia and the Pacific, said: “Today is a dark day for democracy, free speech and liberty in Hong Kong, but nevertheless the nine brave individuals who have been sentenced today are an inspiration to us all.”
“By standing strong and united against the authoritarian bullying of the Chinese government they have set an example that democracies around the world would do well to follow,” he said.
US Senator Mitt Romney, who’s a member of Senate Foreign Relations Committee Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy, said Beijing continues to “impose its authoritarian grip on Hong Kong, and “the imprisonment of pro-democracy leaders is just the latest in a long history of their repression and censorship”. (Additional reporting by AP)
Assault continues relentlessly, says Chris Patten
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