A group of five countries led by the USA has called on China to stop undermining the rights of the people of Hong Kong to elect their representatives, asserting that Beijing's action appeared to be a part of a concerted campaign to silence all critical voices in the global financial hub.
Three other former pro-democracy lawmakers appeared in court in Hong Kong on Thursday, one day after they were arrested for disrupting the legislature during debate on a national anthem bill earlier this year.
The five countries stated that "China's action is a clear violation of its global obligations under the UN-registered Sino-British joint declaration, which is legally bound".
Police in Hong Kong on Wednesday morning arrested three former legislators in connection with incidents in May and June in connection with incidents of foul-smelling liquid being thrown into the city's legislature, an action police said with intent to cause harm. The Chinese Foreign Ministry pushed back, saying it "deplores" the statement and that it had interfered in China's internal affairs.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Nov 12 that the legal basis for the central government's administration of Hong Kong is the Constitution of China and the Hong Kong Basic Law.
The ministry spokesman said the loyalty of politicians to their country is not unique to China or Hong Kong, but a recognised worldwide norm common to all nations. It breaches both China's commitment that Hong Kong will enjoy a "high degree of autonomy", and the right to freedom of speech, the statement said.
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