India has been keeping a close watch on the recent developments in Hong Kong, said Rajiv Kumar Chander, the country's ambassador and permanent representative to the UN in Geneva, on Wednesday, and urged the global body to address related concerns 'seriously and objectively'.
"Given the large Indian community that makes the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China its home, India has been keeping a close watch on the recent developments. We have heard several statements expressing concerns on these developments. We hope the relevant parties will take into account these views and address them properly, seriously and objectively," Chander said at a press briefing at the UN body in Geneva.
Thousands of Hong Kongers, who saw new dawn with the Chinese imposed restrictions over their autonomy and precious civil and social freedoms, turned out in protest in the busy shopping district of Causeway Bay but were met with a heavy security presence. Police fired pepper spray into the crowd, kettled and dispersed protesters and deployed water cannons.
As per media reports, some 200 people, including a man who was holding a black independence flag, and soon afterwards a woman with a sign reading "Hong Kong Independence" were arrested by the city police.
The protests were held just a day after China's elite Standing Committee imposed the new national security legislation on the semi-autonomous region in the lead-up to July 1 -- the 23rd anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong from British rule to China -- and dramatically broadens the powers of local and mainland authorities to investigate, prosecute and punish dissenters.
In vague language, the legislation criminalises secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign powers. People convicted of such crimes can face sentences of up to life in prison.