Biden’s secretary of state nominee says Hong Kong arrests an ‘assault’ on rights advocates

WASHINGTON: US President-elect Joe Biden’s pick for secretary of state blasted Hong Kong authorities for arresting around 50 opposition figures on Wednesday (Jan 6) under a new national security law.

“The sweeping arrests of pro-democracy demonstrators are an assault on those bravely advocating for universal rights,” Antony Blinken wrote on his verified Twitter account.

“The Biden-Harris administration will stand with the people of Hong Kong and against Beijing’s crackdown on democracy,” he added.

An American citizen working for a law firm was among those arrested, two sources told AFP.

John Clancey, a solicitor with the law firm Ho Tse Wai and Partners, was arrested on suspicion of “subversion”, a legal source said.

A police source confirmed Clancey’s arrest and the charge.

READ: More than 50 Hong Kong democracy activists arrested under national security law: Report

Ho Tse Wai is known for taking on human rights cases and police were seen searching the firm’s office on Wednesday morning.

One of its partners is Albert Ho, a former Hong Kong lawmaker and opposition politician, who was also among some 50 opposition figures arrested in Wednesday’s operation.

Clancey is the first American national detained under the new security law in Hong Kong since its imposition in late June last year.

The law firm’s website said Clancey joined the company in 1997 and is a specialist in medical negligence and personal injury cases.

The firm said he is also chairman of the Asian Human Rights Commission and a founding member of the Executive Committee of the China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group.