US condemns sentencing of HK activists on 'politically motivated' charges | Inquirer News

US condemns sentencing of HK activists on ‘politically motivated’ charges

/ 07:08 AM April 17, 2021
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken holds a  joint news conference with the NATO secretary general and US secretary of Defense  on April 14, 2021 at the NATO headquarters in Brussels, following a meeting after the United States announced the withdrawal of all its troops from the Afghanistan by September 11. - US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on April 14, 2021 that the moment has come to withdraw troops from Afghanistan and that Washington would work with NATO allies on a "coordinated" pull-out. NATO allies agreed to start withdrawing of their forces from Afghanistan by May 1

FILE US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (Photo by JOHANNA GERON / POOL / AFP)

WASHINGTON — The United States on Friday condemned the sentencing of several Hong Kong democracy activists for their roles in protests that triggered a crackdown on dissent by China, again accusing Beijing of denying Hong Kongers freedoms they were promised.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken called the charges against the activists “politically motivated” and demanded the release of “those detained or imprisoned for exercising their fundamental freedoms.”

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Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai was jailed for 14 months on Friday along with four other veteran activists. Martin Lee, who is known as the “father of democracy” in Hong Kong, received a suspended sentence.

The sentencings on Friday were the latest in a relentless and successful campaign by China to silence dissent since the protests in 2019.

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Blinken called the sentencings an example of how authorities in Beijing and Hong Kong “undermine protected rights and fundamental freedoms” guaranteed when Britain handed Hong Kong back to China, “in an effort to eliminate all forms of dissent.”

“We will continue to stand with Hong Kongers as they respond to Beijing’s assault on these freedoms and autonomy,” Blinken said in a statement.

Britain and the European Union also condemned the prison terms handed out to Lai and others.

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TAGS: China, Hong Kong, Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters, Jimmy Lai, Martin Lee, United States, US State Sec. Antony Blinken
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