*** ----> US, Australia ‘concerned’ over Hong Kong passport cancellations | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

US, Australia ‘concerned’ over Hong Kong passport cancellations

AFP | Hong Kong

The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com

The United States and Australia expressed concern yesterday over Hong Kong’s invoking of a national security law to cancel the passports of six democracy activists, adding to a growing chorus of Western condemnation.

The Chinese finance hub in March passed the security law, colloquially known as Article 23, which expanded government powers beyond those granted by legislation Beijing imposed in 2020 to quell dissent.

On Wednesday, Hong Kong cancelled the passports of six activists who had fled to Britain -- citing the new law as the legal basis -- saying they were “lawless wanted criminals” who continued to endanger national security.

The United States yesterday called on Hong Kong officials to “immediately halt their efforts to intimidate and silence dissidents”.

“The United States remains strongly concerned that Hong Kong authorities are attempting to assert recently enacted Article 23 legislation extraterritorially as part of their ongoing transnational repression efforts,” a State Department spokesperson said.

Australia also said it was “concerned by the erosion of rights and freedoms”, adding that the security laws had “far reaching impacts, including on individuals in Australia”.