Hong Kong opposition condemns 53 arrests

Opposition leaders in Hong Kong have condemned the arrests of 53 pro-democracy activists on suspicion of violating a new national security law for the territory.

The arrests for alleged subversion were made across Hong Kong on Wednesday. The charges relate to an unofficial vote organized by pro-democracy activists to choose candidates for a Legislative Council election postponed in September.

Pro-democracy groups say the arrested include Wu Chi Wai, a former Legislative Council member and former head of the Democratic Party.

Beijing's office in Hong Kong also confirmed the arrest of University of Hong Kong Associate Professor Benny Tai, one of the organizers of the unofficial primaries.

Democratic Party Chairman Lo Kin-hei told reporters that the government was using a draconian law to seek revenge on political leaders supported by citizens.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab also criticized the Hong Kong government's actions on Wednesday.
Raab said, "I think it's further evidence that they're violating the freedoms and the autonomy of the people of Hong Kong as protected under the UK-China Joint Declaration and International Treaty."

The national security law for Hong Kong came into effect last June. It criminalizes subversion, secession, terrorism and colluding with foreign forces.
This week's arrests are the biggest crackdown to date under the new law.