On 18 April, following the arrests of key opposition members in Hong Kong, ALDE Party President Hans van Baalen released a statement together with Liberal International (LI), the Council of Asian Liberals and Democrats (CALD) and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF), calling on the Hong Kong administration to end these unrightful actions.
In their letter, the signatories – Hans van Baalen of ALDE, Hakima el Haite of LI, Bi-khim Hsiao of CALD and Karl-Heinz Paqué of FNF – stress the severity of the situation, underlining the impact of these arrests on fundamental rights:
“LI, FNF, CALD and ALDE Party strongly believe that these arrests, which have been undertaken in the midst of the global health pandemic, are nothing but cold-blooded political persecution and a direct attack on fundamental freedoms of speech and assembly, which the Hong Kong administration pledged and claimed to uphold.”
These actions are a possible maneuver to redirect the public’s attention away from the inefficient handling of the COVID-19 crisis, the letter states, while highlighting the importance of guaranteeing fundamental freedoms, even during these challenging times. The letter also calls on the Hong Kong administration to stop any political persecution by dropping all charges, releasing those who are still in detention and to cease from committing further acts that intimidate, harass, and threaten the political opposition.
You can find the letter on the website of Liberal International here.
Extremely concerned by sudden arrests of opposition figures in #HongKong for their part in democratic protests. HK Authorities are using #coronavirus pandemic to attack fundamental freedoms of speech and assembly. Our joint statement: https://t.co/xwWdVuVpLK #StandWithHongKong pic.twitter.com/LzQz42bzNv— Hans van Baalen (@hansvanbaalen) April 18, 2020