Human Rights First condemned the Chinese government’s latest wave of arrests in Hong Kong, which included more than 50 pro-democracy officials and leading voices of dissent.
“If the Hong Kong authorities think they will end opposition to authoritarian rule by arresting leading political and human rights activists, they’re totally mistaken,” said Human Rights First’s Brian Dooley.
Among the dozens of people reportedly seized in the sweep are lawyers who provide legal services to arrested protestors, and leading legal figures, including U.S. citizen and lawyer John Clancey, as well as Benny Tai, Lawrence Lau, and Alvin Yeung.
The spree of arrests was conducted under Hong Kong’s draconian new national security law, which Beijing introduced in June 2020 to stifle peaceful opposition voices.
“Targeting human rights lawyers is a wearying predictable tactic of dictatorships across the world,” said Dooley. “It doesn’t silence opposition to repression and injustice, it just exposes the Hong Kong government’s anti-human rights credentials. The incoming Congress and Biden administration should make clear to people in Hong Kong the United States stands on the side of rights, and will not be silent in the face of repression. That means speaking out boldly, rallying like-minded nations to stand up to Chinese bullying, sanctioning those responsible for human rights violations, and providing safe-haven to those fleeing repression.”
In recent years, Human Rights First has led efforts to sanction Chinese human rights violators, advised Congress on how it can support Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement through U.S. refugee policy, and produced a series of on-the-ground reports from Hong Kong.
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