Last week, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo decried the passage of new national security laws over the city of Hong Kong, as they went into effect on July 1.
“The Chinese Communist Party implemented its draconian national security law on Hong Kong, in violation of commitments that it made to the Hong Kong people and to the United Kingdom, in a UN-registered treaty – and in contravention of Hong Kongers’ human rights and fundamental freedoms,” Pompeo said in his prior remarks. “Free Hong Kong was one of the world’s most stable, prosperous, and dynamic cities. Now it will be just another communist-run city, where its people will be subject to the party elite’s whims. It’s sad.”
Many protesters in Hong Kong have already been arrested since the new Chinese laws took effect including at least nine for offenses relating specifically to the new laws. One of the first protesters to be arrested for a violation of China’s new national security laws over Hong Kong, was arrested for carrying a Hong Kong independence flag. Other protesters were reportedly warned that saying pro-independence slogans could constitute a violation of the new Chinese laws, which criminalize acts of “succession.”
On July 6, days after the laws in Hong Kong took effect, Pompeo put out a statement criticizing local authorities in Hong Kong of searching out and removing books critical of the CCP from libraries, banning political slogans and enforcing censorship in schools. Pompeo described the pattern of behavior as “Orwellian.”
Pompeo on Wednesday said China’s Hong Kong takeover law has already reversed 50 years of promises to give Hong Kong a high degree of autonomy.
“Beijing said that for 50 years they’d give the people of Hong Kong ‘a high degree of autonomy,’” Pompeo said at a Wednesday press briefing. “And you all have seen what’s happened after only 23 years – empty promises made to the people of Hong Kong and to the world.”
Pompeo also tweeted particular criticism for a 2015 crackdown effort, referred to as the “709 crackdown” which targeted activists who criticized the CCP and even went so far as to target the lawyers of CCP critics arrested during the crackdown.
“The wave of repression that began five years ago in China continues today. We call for justice for lawyers and human rights defenders like Yu Wensheng, who was sentenced to four years in jail for defending victims of the 2015 #709crackdown.” Pompeo tweeted.
The wave of repression that began five years ago in China continues today. We call for justice for lawyers and human rights defenders like Yu Wensheng, who was sentenced to four years in jail for defending victims of the 2015 #709crackdown.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) July 9, 2020