Foreign Policy

US Citizens Arrested in China During Massive Pro-Democracy Crackdown

Some prominent US citizens were arrested in Hong Kong during a massive pro-democracy crackdown on Wednesday. The people held in custody included an American lawyer and several distinguished ex lawmakers.

At a news briefing, the senior superintendent of Hong Kong’s police force, Li Kwai-wah, reported that they have arrested 45 men and eight women and requested additional information about them from local media outlets.

Joe Biden’s nominee for state secretary Antony Blinken wrote on Twitter that the arrests of pro-democracy demonstrators are “an assault on those bravely advocating for universal rights” and added that the Biden-Harris administration will stand “against Beijing’s crackdown on democracy.”

Jonathan Man from Ho Tse Wai & Partners reported that Hong Kong Police arrested the lawyer, John Clancey, who was a solicitor at hundreds of protest cases. According to Man, Clancey is an American citizen, who could eventually become a source of pressure between Washington and Beijing.

The arrests of pro-democracy protesters in Asia come as Donald Trump’s administration continues to attack Beijing over its assertive policies in the city. At the same time, China remains one of the main foreign policy challenges of Joe Biden’s administration.

At a news briefing, Secretary for Security John Lee said that activists had been held in custody for planning to make “mutual destruction” and paralyze the government work. 

On allegations of subversion, the Hong Kong Police also arrested the ex lawmakers Andrew Wan, James To, Alvin Yeung, and Lam Cheuk-ting, as well as the famous activist Benny Tai.

To calm the protesters, the Chinese officials have justified the legislation that was imposed by Beijing on the former British colony in June, however, the law has been used mainly against non-violent political opponents and dissidents so far.

Meanwhile, the massive discontent continues. On Wednesday, the Civil Human Rights Front stated that it “strongly condemns police for taking the law out of context and conducting mass arrests to create white terror and harm the Hong Kong people’s freedom of speech, freedom of the press, right to vote and the right to stand for elections.” 

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