Rallies against Hong Kong’s national security law were held in two major British cities on China’s National Day last Thursday, drawing the ire of China’s ambassador.
The protesters also called for the release of the 12 Hongkongers currently being detained in mainland China after allegedly attempting to flee to Taiwan by speedboat.
The same day in London, a group of around a dozen protesters set fire to a Chinese national flag outside the Chinese Embassy in Marylebone.
Others at the scene displayed slogans including “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times” and “Hong Kong Independence.” The group also chanted the slogans, which are now criminalised under Hong Kong’s national security law.
Protesters also hung “Hong Kong Independence” flags on the embassy’s gate, along with banners displaying curses against the Chinese Communist Party, including “Heavens smite the CCP” and “May the whole party die.”
The rallies at Piccadilly Circus in London and Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester were organised by a group of Hongkongers in the UK to demonstrate against “dramatically deteriorating” civil rights and liberties in Hong Kong.
The Hong Kong authorities have insisted that rights are protected and new security legislation only affects a small minority of people.
In an online statement, China’s ambassador to the UK Liu Xiaoming slammed the protesters’ actions, calling them “rioters” who have committed “flagrant and abominable acts of vandalising and insult.”
“Their actions amounted to grave desecration of the dignity of the country and the nation,” his statement read. It added that the group had violated both China’s national flag law and Hong Kong’s national security law.
The statement described the group as “violent perpetrators” whose real agenda was to destabilise Hong Kong, and urged British police to launch an investigation to “bring them to justice.”
‘Hold China accountable’
Separately last Thursday, rights activists projected a video onto the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, urging legislators to enforce targeted sanctions on Chinese officials and Beijing to “hold it accountable” for alleged abuses of human rights in Hong Kong, Tibet and Xinjiang.
“In Hong Kong, China has ripped up agreements to protect civil liberties and political rights,” said Francis Hui from the activist group We are Hongkongers. “The Chinese government has forced its national security law on Hong Kong, threatening brave Hongkongers with life in prison if they speak up against the CCP.”
Tibetan activist Pema Yoko and the World Uyghur Congress’s Zumretay Arkin also spoke of what they called Beijing’s fierce oppression and violation of human rights of their compatriots.
The message was part of a “Global Day of Action” launched by the World Uyghur Congress to coincide with China’s National Day.