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

Barb Kalugin, chair of the Community For Kids Port Alberni Chapter, is presented with a cheque for $832 for the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation from Anita Sutherland, Director of Operations and Opportunities with McLean Mill National Historic Site. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
McLean Mill Christmas event raises more than $800 for BC Children’s Hospital

Festival of Trees fundraiser went virtual due to COVID-19

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Employers might be able to require COVID-19 vaccination from employees: B.C. lawyer

‘An employer must make the case’ using expert science, explains lawyer David Mardiros

On Aug. 26, 1947, a fire sparked in the lumber piles between Alberni Pacific Division sawmill and Alberni Plywood (located where Canal Waterfront Park is now). What resulted was a huge fire on Assembly Wharf One, where several buildings were gutted and stacks of lumber were burned. This photo is one of 24,000 contained in the Alberni Valley Museum’s digital archives, at https://portalberni.pastperfectonline.com. (PHOTO PN07386 COURTESY ALBERNI VALLEY MUSEUM)
LOOK BACK: 1947 fire destroys Port Alberni wharf

Take a peek into the Alberni Valley’s history with the Alberni Valley Museum

Artist Jim Holyoak’s installation “Quagmire.” Holyoak will be the first speaker for the Artist Talk Online Winter 2021 series. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
North Island College Artist Talk goes online for winter 2021

The series invites contemporary Canadian artists to speak about their professional practice

(NEWS FILE PHOTO)
City of Port Alberni, ACRD prepare for compost collection in 2021

Roadside pickup is expected to begin in the City of Port Alberni in June 2021

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

The sky above Mt. Benson in Nanaimo is illuminated by flares as search and rescuers help an injured hiker down the mountain to a waiting ambulance. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Search and Rescue)
Search plane lights up Nanaimo mountain with flares during icy rope rescue

Rescuers got injured hiker down Mt. Benson to a waiting ambulance Saturday night

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

Most Read