Police in Hong Kong have offered the equivalent of 1.4 million Swedish kronor for information leading to the arrest of eight prominent democracy activists in exile.
“The only thing they can do to avoid being a fugitive who will be persecuted for the rest of their lives is to surrender,” Hong Kong’s leader John Lee told reporters on Tuesday.
He also urged the public to help the police, adding that “relatives and friends of the activists” may also become whistleblowers.
swipe in the west
The offer has drawn criticism from the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia – countries where some of the most wanted activists live.
“We will not tolerate any attempts by China to intimidate and silence individuals in the UK and abroad. The UK will always stand up for the universal right to freedom of expression and stand up for the vulnerable,” British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said in a statement. In a statement to AFP on Monday.
The statement appears to have angered the representatives of China.
“British politicians have publicly offered shelter to the fugitives,” a spokesman for Beijing’s embassy in London said in a statement issued late Monday.
“This is a gross interference with the rule of law in Hong Kong and China’s internal affairs,” the statement continued, stressing China’s strong dissatisfaction.
Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong said people in Australia who peacefully express their views will be “supported”.
Wong also warned Hong Kong authorities and others against cracking down on the tip offer – stressing that Australia had “strict legislation” on foreign interference.
Run away from Hong Kong
All eight activists fled Hong Kong after Beijing passed a sweeping national security law in 2020, in response to widespread pro-democracy protests in 2019.
The eight are charged with sedition and subversive activities and allegedly collaborated with foreign forces to endanger national security – a crime punishable by life imprisonment.
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