Nov. 2 (UPI) — The opposition Democratic Party in Hong Kong said Monday that an eight lawmaker has been arrested in connection to a council meeting in May that devolved into chaos.
The party said in a statement that Ted Hui Chi Fung was arrested Monday morning on two counts of violating the Legislative Council Powers and Privileges Ordinance, including obstruction of legislative council officers, in connection to the May 8 meeting during which lawmakers physically fought over control of the meeting.
He said in a statement on Facebook prior to his arrest that he learned he was on a list of those wanted by the police by the media and had not received any message from the authorities.
“Even if I am arrested later, I will remain fearless and continue to fight for Hongkonger’s democracy,” he said.
On Monday, the United States lambasted the arrests as a “clear abuse of law enforcement for political purposes.”
“The Hong Kong government’s harassment and intimidation of pro-democracy representatives and attempts to stifle dissent are stark examples of its ongoing complicity with the authoritarian Chinese Communist Party, which seeks to dismantle the promised autonomy of Hong Kong and eviscerate respect for human rights,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.
The United States has taken a strong stance against Chinese encroachment on Hong Kong, which was promised “a high degree of autonomy” for at least 50 years in the Sino-British Joint Declaration that returned the region to Chinese rule in 1997.
The Trump administration has taken steps to punish China over its whittling away of the former British territory’s autonomy, efforts that were further strengthened after Beijing instituted a draconian national security law upon Hong Kong that Pompeo described as the “death knell” of its separation from China.
“We call on Beijing and the Hong Kong government to respect the right of the Hong Kong people to air their grievances through their elected representatives,” Pompeo said in the statement. “The United States stands with the people of Hong Kong.”