While the rest of the world is preoccupied with dealing with the CCP Virus, China has attempted to fly under the radar in Hong Kong by conducting a sweeping crackdown on activists.

The arrest of 15 high-profile democracy activists took place in Hong Kong on Saturday, April 18. Just hours prior to the arrests, China’s top representative office announced it is not bound by Hong Kong’s constitutional restrictions that bar the Communist Party from interfering in local affairs.

Superintendent Lam Wing-Ho said police could be making more arrests after the 15 who were targeted by police for allegedly organizing and joining illegal assemblies on three different days in 2019, reports Fox News.

The former chairs of the Democratic Party Martin Lee and Albert Ho and the Labour Party’s Lee Cheuk-yan were among those arrested, as was lawmaker Leung Yiu-Chung, the Democratic Party’s Yeung Sum, Democrats Au Nok-hin and Richard Tsoi, Kwai Tsing District Council chair Sin Chung-kai, and the Labour Party’s Cyd Ho.

Police use tear gas to suppress the first protests by demonstrators in Hong Kong on 25 August 2019. (Studio Incendo/CC0)
Police use tear gas to suppress the first protests by demonstrators in Hong Kong on Aug. 25, 2019. (Studio Incendo/CC0)

“The United States condemns the arrest of pro-democracy advocates in Hong Kong,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.

“Beijing and its representatives in Hong Kong continue to take actions inconsistent with commitments made under the Sino-British Joint Declaration that include transparency, the rule of law, and guarantees that Hong Kong will continue to ‘enjoy a high degree of autonomy,'” Pompeo added.

“The Chinese Communist Party cannot be trusted,” Attorney General William Barr said.

Barr also criticized the CCP’s actions, commenting on how “antithetical the values of the Chinese Communist Party are to those we share in Western liberal democracies. These actions—along with its malign influence activity and industrial espionage here in the United States—demonstrate once again that the Chinese Communist Party cannot be trusted.”

Britain’s Foreign Office also criticized the arrests, saying, “The right to peaceful protest is fundamental to Hong Kong’s way of life and as such is protected in both the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law.”

Meanwhile, the Office of the Commissioner of the Chinese Foreign Ministry in Hong Kong issued a statement saying foreign countries have no right to interfere, China’s official Xinhua News Agency reported.

L: Police in riot gear prepare to fire as they move onto the campus of Hong Kong Polytechnic University in Hong Kong, early on Nov. 18, 2019. Hong Kong police stormed onto a university campus held by protesters after an all-night standoff. (Vincent Yu/AP Photo); R: Harry Wong (Facebook)

“It is completely wrong that the UK Foreign Office spokesperson has distorted the truth by painting unauthorized assemblies as ‘peaceful protests,’ in a bid to whitewash, condone, and exonerate the anti-China troublemakers in Hong Kong,” the statement said.

Democratic legislator Claudia Mo, who was not arrested, said the city government, led by Chief Executive Carrie Lam, was trying “to introduce a ring of terror in Hong Kong.”

“They are doing whatever they can to try to silence, to take down the local opposition,” Mo said, indicating Democrats were hopeful of winning back veto power in the city assembly in legislative elections in September,” she continued.

More than 7,800 people have been arrested so far for participating in the protests, with many charged with rioting, which carries jail sentences of up to 10 years.