UK lawmakers urge sanctions over Hong Kong police violence

British lawmakers have urged the U.K. government to sanction Hong Kong's leader for allegedly allowing “excessive police violence” against humanitarian aid workers during pro-democracy protests

LONDON -- British lawmakers urged the U.K. government Tuesday to sanction Hong Kong's leader for allowing “excessive police violence” against humanitarian workers who tried to help people injured during pro-democracy protests.

A report by members of the bipartisan All Party Parliamentary Group on Hong Kong said first aid workers, doctors and nurses, have been subjected to intimidation, threats, physical violence and arrests during months of clashes between police and protesters that began in the semi-autonomous Chinese city last year.

“The Hong Kong Police Force’s treatment of humanitarian aid workers and their interference within hospitals have resulted in injured protesters not receiving the required medical care in time or at all,” the report said.

Lawmaker Alistair Carmichael, who co-chairs the parliamentary group, said the violence was “not the actions of a few rogue officers” but instead was “clearly a systematic and quite deliberate” policy change that aligned more with policing in mainland China.

The report’s authors said they drew their conclusions after receiving over 1,000 pieces of written evidence and hearing many firsthand witness accounts.

They called for Britain to urgently impose sanctions on Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam and the city’s police commissioner.

Hong Kong saw violence at anti-government protests in the past year, as demonstrations against a proposed law that would allow suspects to be extradited to China grew into a much wider protest movement for democratic reform and against alleged police brutality.

Although the extradition bill was later withdrawn, the demonstrations continued for months. Police using tear gas, pepper spray and rubber bullets to disperse protesters became common occurrences.

Beijing imposed a sweeping national security law on Hong Kong last month, raising widespread concerns that the Chinese government was cracking down on the anti-government protests.

Hong Kong has long enjoyed civil liberties not seen elsewhere in mainland China because it is governed under a “one country, two systems” principle in place since the former British colony reverted to Chinese rule in 1997.