MOSCOW, November 7 (RIA Novosti) — The leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) should urge China to release activists detained for backing the recent protests in Hong Kong, Amnesty International said Friday.
"APEC leaders must end their recent silence on the crackdown against mainland Chinese activists expressing support for Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters. Political convenience should not trump principled action," Amnesty International's East Asia Research Director Roseann Rife said in a statement published on the organization's website.
According to the statement, at least 76 people are currently in detention in mainland China for showing their support to Hong Kong protesters through online pictures and attempted travels to Hong Kong.
The watchdog also noted the Chinese government tried removing those pictures, allowing only government-sponsored information to circulate on TV and in the media.
Amnesty's statement comes ahead of the APEC summit next week in Beijing, China.
"The leaders should take this opportunity to speak out and urge President Xi to ensure all those detained solely for exercising their right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly are immediately and unconditionally released," the statement urged.
The demonstrations in Hong Kong began on September 26 in protest against Chinese government plans to control the 2017 election in Hong Kong. The protesters claimed China was going back on its word to maintain the city's autonomy under the "one country, two systems" formula.