HONG KONG: China’s crackdown in Hong Kong escalated dramatically on Wednesday when police arrested more than 50 opposition figures in their biggest operation since enforcing strict security laws on the financial center.
Beijing’s latest move to end dissent in the semi-autonomous city is the latest in a string of violent demonstrations of democracy since millions took to the streets in 2019. Police confirmed that 53 people, including a U.S. citizen, were arrested in the early hours of the morning on charges of “mutiny,” including about 1,000 officers. The allegations were made last year by opposition groups in an attempt to gain a majority in the city’s partially elected legislature.
Hong Kong’s security chief, John Lee, called the arrests “necessary” and said there was a group of people who tried to “drown Hong Kong in a gorge” and “overthrow the government”. Beijing’s liaison office in Hong Kong said it was facing legal action against those who “strategically organized or carried out the plan to paralyze the government.”
But the move was reprimanded by US President-elect Joe Biden’s secretary of state, Anthony Blanken, who said authorities were launching an “attack on those who support heroism for global rights.”
He added: “The Biden Harris administration will stand up against the crackdown on the people of Hong Kong and Beijing’s democracy.
The detainees represented a wide section of the Hong Kong opposition, from former pro-democracy lawmakers such as James Two, Andrew Vaughan, Lam Cheuk Ting and Claudia Mo to a group of underage workers.
Among the youth campaigners were Gwyneth Ho, a former journalist, social worker, district councilor Tiffany Yvonne and Jeffrey Andrews, known for working with ethnic minorities.