US says rule of law keeps declining in Hong Kong

WASHINGTON (AFP): The United States said Friday that the rule of law has kept declining in Hong Kong, where China in 2020 imposed a tough national security law to stamp out dissent.

In a required report to Congress, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that China “continues to erode Hong Kong’s judicial independence and the rule of law.”

“We urge PRC authorities to restore Hong Kongers their protected rights and freedoms, release those unjustly detained or imprisoned and respect the rule of law and human rights in Hong Kong,” Blinken said, using the acronym for the People’s Republic of China.

Blinken did not announce new countermeasures. The United States in 2020 imposed sanctions on Hong Kong’s then chief executive, Carrie Lam.

The State Department report cited estimates of more than 1,200 people detained “for their political beliefs” in Hong Kong, which had seen mass protests before the crackdown.

Hong Kong on Sunday saw its first protest in two years, against a land reclamation plan, but it was tightly controlled after official authorization with a cap of 100 marchers, who wore number tags around their necks.