April 25, 2019 / 10:51 AM / a month ago

Britain says jailing of Hong Kong pro-democracy activists is deeply disappointing

Pro-democracy supporters attend candlelight vigils to support four jailed leaders of the 2014 pro-democracy "Occupy" movement, also known as "Umbrella Movement", outside Lai Chi Kok Reception Centre in Hong Kong, China April 24, 2019. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s foreign minister Jeremy Hunt said on Thursday the jailing of four leaders of Hong Kong’s 2014 pro-democracy protests was deeply disappointing.

The sentencing of the activists followed a near month-long trial that was closely watched as China’s Communist Party leaders have put Hong Kong’s autonomy under increasing strain.

Britain returned Hong Kong to Chinese rule in 1997 under a “one country, two systems” principle, with the guarantee of a high degree of autonomy and freedoms not enjoyed elsewhere in China.

“The sentences handed to the ‘Occupy’ activists in Hong Kong are deeply disappointing,” Hunt said on Twitter. “One Country Two Systems and the Joint Declaration are about respect for civil and political freedoms.”

Reporting by Andrew MacAskill; Editing by William Schomberg

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