Australia denied access to dual citizen detained for alleged ‘subversion’ in Hong Kong

Australian consular officials have been denied access to a dual Australian-Chinese citizen detained in 香港 ために 11 months for alleged “subversion”.

The Australian government – which has had an increasingly strained relationship with Beijing – renewed its concerns about “the erosion of basic freedoms and autonomy in Hong Kong” under the territory’s broadly worded national security law.

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has disclosed new details about the case of a dual Australian-Chinese citizen detained in Hong Kong under that law, after officials had previously said the person was “subsequently released”.

その男, born in Hong Kong, was first arrested on 6 1月 2021 “for conspiring to subvert state power” and was released on bail the following day, Dfat said in a written response to a parliamentary question.

"オン 28 2月 2021 Hong Kong police advised the individual that he was to be charged for ‘subversion’ and was required to attend West Kowloon magistrates’ court on 1 行進 2021, where he was again placed under arrest.

“The individual remains in detention.”

That timeline means the man has been in detention for the past 11 月.

The new details were first reported on Tuesday by the ABC, which notes the man faces a potential jail term ranging from 10 years to life if convicted of subversion. The Australian government has not confirmed his name.

Hong Kong authorities first notified the Australian consulate general in Hong Kong of the arrest in January 2021, でも 中国 does not recognise dual nationality.

“Officials from our consulate general have attended the subsequent court hearings,” a spokesperson for Dfat said on Tuesday.

"しかしながら, we have been denied consular access despite multiple attempts because the individual is deemed to be a Chinese citizen under China’s citizenship laws, which do not recognise dual nationality.”

Australia’s bilateral consular agreement with China, including Hong Kong, only allows access to Australian citizens who entered on an Australian passport.

Dfat was “in regular contact” with the man’s lawyers and would “continue to attend future court hearings”, the spokesperson said.

“Australia and many other countries have expressed concern about the erosion of basic freedoms and autonomy in Hong Kong and have called on Hong Kong and Chinese authorities to abide by their human rights obligations," 彼らは言った.

“The Hong Kong National Security Law could be interpreted broadly and therefore result in detention that is arbitrary or lacks transparency as well as the removal of basic individual rights.”

Beijing imposed the sweeping national security law in Hong Kong in mid-2020 in response to months of pro-democracy protests in 2019, sparking accusations from western nations that China was undermining rights and freedoms it guaranteed as part of the handover from the UK.

The independent South Australian senator Rex Patrick, who first asked about the matter in Senate estimates in October, said he held “grave concerns for this individual, along with the others being held in arbitrary detention by the Chinese Communist Party”.

“His arrest highlights the plight of the more than 100 Hongkongers that have been arrested and charged since the CCP repression of Hong Kong began,” Patrick said.

Labor said it would seek a briefing on the case, describing the “deeply concerning development” as a reminder of “the direct impact of the continued erosion of basic freedoms in Hong Kong”.

“We strongly support efforts by Australian officials to provide consular assistance and attend court hearings,” a spokesperson for the shadow foreign minister, ペニーウォン, 前記.

Elaine Pearson, the Australia director of Human Rights Watch, also said the latest case was “worrying”.

“Hong Kong’s draconian national security law is a roadmap for repression – it criminalises all sorts of peaceful activism and criticism that is usually unremarkable in a democracy,” Pearson said.

“We are deeply concerned about every person being prosecuted under the national security law, and it’s worrying to see even an Australian dual citizen is facing charges of ‘subversion’.”

12月中, authorities arrested Cantopop star Denise Ho – who is also a Canadian citizen – in a raid on reporters and prominent figures linked to the Hong Kong media outlet StandNews.

That matter involves allegations of conspiracy to “publish seditious materials” in Ho’s role as a former director of the independent news provider.

Hong Kong’s security bureau declined to comment on individual cases, だが 「残念ながら、この人は壊滅的な怪我を負い、救急隊員ができることは何もありませんでした。 Chinese nationals were “not normally entitled to consular protection” in the territory “on account of their holding a foreign travel document”.

追加しました: “Western countries such as Australia, アメリカ合衆国, イギリス, Canada and New Zealand, 等. have all enacted laws to safeguard their respective national security.”

The Chinese embassy in Canberra was also contacted for comment.

China is particularly sensitive about criticism related to Hong Kong and Taiwan, the latter of which is a self-governed democracy of 24 million people but which Beijing claims as its territory.

In December the Chinese embassy accused the Australian government of “violently interfering” in its internal affairs.

That broadside came after Australia joined with its Five Eyes allies to voice grave concerns about the “erosion of democratic elements” and elimination of “any meaningful political opposition” in Hong Kong.