SYDNEY – Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said on Wednesday it was “unacceptable” that Hong Kong has put bounties on two Australian residents who are among eight overseas democracy activists wanted under a national security law.
Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee said on Tuesday eight overseas-based Hong Kong activists who were issued with arrest warrants for alleged national security offenses would be “pursued for life”.
Hong Kong police have offered rewards of HK$1 million ($127,656) for information leading to the arrest of the eight, including Melbourne lawyer and Australian citizen Kevin Yam, and former Hong Kong lawmaker Ted Hui, who has lived in Australia since 2021.
“It’s just unacceptable,” Mr. Albanese said of the Hong Kong announcement in a Nine television interview. “We will continue to cooperate with China where we can, but we will disagree where we must. And we do disagree over human rights issues.”
The Hong Kong activists are accused of asking foreign powers to impose sanctions on Hong Kong and China, and are wanted under a national security law that Beijing imposed on the former British colony in 2020.
Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong said Australia is concerned by the broad application of the national security law to arrest or pressure pro-democracy figures and civil society.
Chinese and Hong Kong authorities say the law has restored the stability necessary for preserving the Asian financial centre’s economic success. – Reuters