US slams conviction of HK democracy advocates

A US State Department spokesperson has condemned the latest convictions of seven democracy advocates in Hong Kong, saying they erode freedoms there.

Ned Price spoke to reporters on Thursday after a Hong Kong court found seven people guilty of unauthorized assembly charges involving anti-government protests in August 2019. They have been involved in the pro-democracy movement for many years.

Price said the convictions show the degree to which the Chinese and Hong Kong authorities "seek to crush all forms of peaceful dissent."

He called the court rulings "yet another example of the erosion of Hong Kong's freedoms" by those authorities.

Price said the United States continues to stand with millions of Hong Kong people who have peacefully demonstrated to protect autonomy and freedoms.

He added that the US will continue to hold Chinese and Hong Kong authorities to account, indicating that the US may take countermeasures.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken recently told Congress that Hong Kong does not warrant US preferential treatment that has been given on condition that the high degree of autonomy in Hong Kong is ensured. Blinken cited Beijing's stronger control over the territory as a reason for his stance.