Fri, 23 Apr 2021

Washington DC [US], March 1 (ANI): The United States on Sunday (local time) called on Beijing to release pro-democratic leaders detained in Hong Kong, who are charged under the stringent national security law, over their participation in a primary election for the now-postponed Legislative Council election.

"We join the international community in urging Beijing and Hong Kong authorities to release pan-democratic candidates detained in Hong Kong. Further proof the national security law is really meant to stifle dissent and undermine Hong Kong's autonomy," Ned Price, the US State Department spokesperson said in a tweet.

This comes after the Hong Kong police charged 47 pro-democracy activists under the national security law on Sunday over participation in a primary election for the now-postponed Legislative Council election, Hong Kong Free Press reported.

While condemning the detention of the leaders, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called for their immediate release. The US stands with the people of Hong Kong, Blinken added.

"We condemn the detention of and charges filed against pan-democratic candidates in Hong Kong's elections and call for their immediate release. Political participation and freedom of expression should not be crimes. The U.S. stands with the people of Hong Kong," Blinken tweeted.

So far, Hong Kong Police have arrested 55 of the city's pro-democracy campaigners in a series of dawn raids last month.

China imposed the draconian National Security Law in Hong Kong last year. The law criminalises secession, subversion, and collusion with foreign forces and carries with it strict prison terms. It came into effect from July 1, 2020. (ANI)

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