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

Pixabay image
Surrey recovers 29,000 jobs it lost to pandemic

That’s according to Surrey Board of Trade’s fifth Surrey Labour Market Intelligence Report on COVID-19

A worker is seen throwing a chicken in an undercover video in 2017 filmed by California-based animal rights activists Mercy For Animals.
Fraser Valley chicken abuse trial delayed until February

Originally scheduled for a jury trial, Sofina and Chilliwack company now face judge alone

Desmond Tompkins helped curate and host a youth art show at the South Surrey/White Rock Learning Centre. (Contributed photo)
South Surrey/White Rock Learning Centre art show highlights ‘diverse perspectives’

With COVID-19 protocols in place, youth art show underway

The SACH Community Hub team, from left to right: Upkar Singh Tatlay, Gary Thandi, Allysha Ram, Jassy Pandher, Harman Pander. (Submitted photo)
There’s help for South Asian men wrestling with drug addiction in Surrey

South Asian deaths related to toxic drugs increased by 255 per cent between 2015 and 2018

Crews with Discovery Channel film as an Aggressive Towing driver moves a Grumman S2F Tracker aircraft around a 90-degree turn from its compound and onto the road on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. It was the “most difficult” part of the move for the airplane, one organizer said. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Vintage military plane gets towed from Chilliwack to Greater Victoria

Grumman CP-121 Tracker’s eventual home the British Columbia Aviation Museum on Vancouver Island

The Independent Investigations Office of BC (IIO) is looking into the death of man discovered Jan. 11 in east Maple Ridge. (Black Press files)
B.C.’s police watchdog investigating man’s death in Maple Ridge

Man was found dead Jan. 11 after recent contact with police

Chilliwack Law Courts. (Black Press file)
Man sentenced to 20 months for sexual offences involving a minor in Mission

Will Laws Clark was 22 and victim was 13 at time offences began

Rolling seven-day average of cases by B.C. health authority to Jan. 21. Fraser Health in purple, Vancouver Coastal red, Interior Health orange, Northern Health green and Vancouver Island blue. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
2nd COVID vaccine doses on hold as B.C. delivery delayed again

New COVID-19 cases slowing in Fraser Health region

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. Two more cases of the COVID-19 strain first identified in South Africa have been diagnosed in British Columbia, bringing the total to three as of Jan. 16.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. now has three cases of South African COVID-19 variant, six of U.K. strain

Both variants are thought to spread faster than earlier strains

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker in an undated photo from social media. The couple has been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Great Canadian Gaming CEO resigns after being accused of sneaking into Yukon for vaccine

Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker were charged with two CEMA violations each

Police discovered a makeshift nightclub in a Vancouver apartment on Jan. 23, 2021, and say it wasn’t the first time this month officers have been called to the unit over social gathering concerns. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Doorman of makeshift ‘booze-can’ in Vancouver apartment fined; police look to court order

This marks the fourth complaint about social gatherings inside the apartment in January

A Kelowna couple welcomed their Nooner baby in December. (Flytographer)
Kelowna couple welcomes baby girl from Hotel Zed Nooner campaign

Nicole and Alex will now have 18 years of free stays at the hotel

The Abbotsford Tulip Festival is permanently closing, with plans to eventually set up in Armstrong, B.C. (Abbotsford News file photo)
Abbotsford Tulip Festival is closing, with plans to rebloom in Armstrong

Event organizer says pandemic and sale of land were factors in decision

Most Read