US says rule of law and judicial independence in Hong Kong have deteriorated in a year

US says rule of law and judicial independence in Hong Kong have deteriorated in a year

March 31 (EUROPA PRESS) –

The United States has assured this Friday that the rule of law and judicial independence in Hong Kong have deteriorated considerably in a year after the approval of a controversial national security law criticized by Hong Kong dissidents and the international community.

“We urge the Chinese authorities to restore Hong Kongers their rights and freedoms, release those unjustly detained or imprisoned and respect the rule of law, as well as Human Rights in Hong Kong,” the secretary of Hong Kong said in a statement. American State, Antony Blinken.

Blinken’s comments come after Washington released an annual report, covering the period from April 2022 to January 2023, describing how Beijing has taken actions that “directly threaten US interests in Hong Kong.” “.

The text alleges that China has used “national security” with the aim of “undermining the rule of law” as well as rights and freedoms. “During the reporting period, the Chinese authorities continued to deny people in Hong Kong the ability to play a significant role in the city’s government, including for the first time allowing only one candidate to run for the post of chief executive”, has sentenced.

Likewise, Washington points to the arrests of activists “for expressing themselves peacefully and criticizing local and central governments” at the same time that it has denounced that the authorities deny bail to detainees and keep them in “long periods of detention preventative”.

“Hong Kong and Chinese authorities continued to target civil society groups, media companies, activists, journalists, political parties, trade unions and other individuals and organizations they accused of being connected to the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement. Hong Kong,” he stressed.

In this sense, he has referred to the closure of the pro-democratic newspapers ‘Stand News’ and ‘Apple Daily’, owned by Hong Kong opposition tycoon Jimmy Lai, after a series of arrests and campaigns against him for publishing news of the protests.

Washington has also recalled the arrest and trial of Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, bishop emeritus of Hong Kong, accused by the authorities of “collaboration with foreign powers” and for violating the National Security Law.

This controversial legislation, which criminalizes sedition, treason, separatism and foreign interference, has been criticized by the United Nations, as well as by the United States and the European Union, which have indicated that it is an instrument to silence dissent in the territory .

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