Minister of Foreign Affairs Francois-Philippe Champagne responds to a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on November 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Minister of Foreign Affairs Francois-Philippe Champagne responds to a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on November 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Canada joins allies in condemning latest Hong Kong arrests by China

The actions on Taiwan and Hong Kong will undoubtedly anger China

Canada’s foreign affairs minister is joining counterparts from the U.S., Britain and Australia in condemning last week’s mass arrest of politicians and pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong.

Fifty-five people were arrested last week under a security law that China first imposed on the former British colony in the spring.

In a joint statement, Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne and his American, British and Australian counterparts say they had “serious concern” about the arrests.

They add that the National Security Law, which Chinese and Hong Kong authorities argue is necessary to maintain order in the city, is actually being used to crackdown on dissent and opposing political views.

The four foreign ministers go on to say the security law violates the promises China made to uphold democratic rights and freedoms in Hong Kong when it took ownership of the city back from Britain in 1997.

Most of those arrested last week had taken part in an unofficial primary for a legislative election that was later postponed.

Authorities allege the primary was part of a plot to seize control of the legislature in order to paralyze government and force the city’s leader to resign.

The 55 have not been charged, and all but three have been released on bail pending further investigation. Convictions could disqualify them from running for office.

The four foreign ministers said the next legislative election should include candidates representing a range of political opinions. Only half the city’s legislature is elected by popular vote.

“We call on the Hong Kong and Chinese central authorities to respect the legally guaranteed rights and freedoms of the people of Hong Kong without fear of arrest and detention,” they wrote.

The statement was signed by Champagne, Marise Payne of Australia, Dominic Raab of the U.K. and Mike Pompeo of the United States.

Separately, Pompeo announced Saturday that the U.S. is voiding longstanding restrictions on how its diplomats and others have contact with their counterparts in Taiwan, a self-governing island that China says should be under its rule.

The actions on Taiwan and Hong Kong will undoubtedly anger China, which views such moves as foreign interference in its internal affairs.

The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump, which is in its final days, is also sending United Nations Ambassador Kelly Craft to Taiwan later this week. China has sharply criticized the upcoming visit, while Taiwan’s government has welcomed it.

—With files from The Associated Press.

Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

ChinaHong Kong

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

VICTORIA, CANADA - MARCH 25: BC Ambulance Services stock photography session March 25, 2013 in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.  (Photo by Jeff Vinnick Images)
Paramedics responding to increased volume of overdose calls

Data released by BC Emergency Health Services shows a rising provincial trend of overdose responses

Recipients of last year’s Winter Games Legacy Grant funds. Bulletin file.
City of Kimberley accepting applications for Winter Games Legacy grants

Grants are available for amateur sports organizations

Amanda Parsons, a registered nurse on staff at the Northwood Care facility, administers a dose of the Moderna vaccine to Ann Hicks, 77, in Halifax on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan-Pool
61 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

Twenty-nine people are in hospital, seven of whom are in intensive care

Kimberley Mayor Don McCormick. Bulletin file
No need for travel bans: Kimberley Mayor

While there has been plenty of chatter lately about the possibility of… Continue reading

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

Vancouver Canucks’ Travis Hamonic grabs Montreal Canadiens’ Josh Anderson by the face during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horvat scores winner as Canucks dump Habs 6-5 in shootout thriller

Vancouver and Montreal clash again Thursday night

Interior Health has declared the Cariboo Chilcotin a community cluster. (Angie Mindus photo)
Interior Health declares Cariboo Chilcotin region a COVID-19 cluster, 215 cases since Jan. 1

Most cases are related to transmission at social events and gatherings in Williams Lake

A woman writes a message on a memorial mural wall by street artist James “Smokey Devil” Hardy during a memorial to remember victims of illicit drug overdose deaths on International Overdose Awareness Day, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Monday, August 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. paramedics respond to record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2020

On the front lines, COVID-19 has not only led to more calls, but increased the complexity

Vernon's Noric House long-term care facility is dealing with an influenza outbreak amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (File photo)
Two more deaths at Vernon care home

Noric House case numbers remain steady, but death toll rises

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Southern resident killer whales in B.C. waters. Research shows the population’s females are more negatively influenced by vessel traffic than males. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Female orcas less likely to feed in presence of vessel traffic: study

Research the southern resident population raises concerns over reproduction capacity

(Black Press Media files)
Transport Canada not budging on enclosed deck rules, despite calls from BC Ferries union

There have been at least 23 cases of the U.K. variant detected in Canada, four of which are in B.C.

Most Read