(New York) – The Chinese government should respect the fundamental rights of Hong Kong’s people rather than target nongovernmental organizations, Human Rights Watch said today. A Chinese official threatened to impose unspecified “sanctions” against Human Rights Watch and several US-based pro-democracy organizations, according to the state-run Xinhua news agency on December 2, 2019.

“We regret the Chinese government’s threat of ‘sanctions’ against Human Rights Watch, an independent organization that works to protect human rights for people in more than 100 countries,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. “The authorities in Hong Kong should allow people there to freely express their concerns through peaceful protests, without fear of excessive police force. Rather than target groups that seek to defend the rights of Hong Kong people, the Chinese government should respect those rights.”

Human Rights Watch, an independent nongovernmental organization that does not receive funding from any government, works to protect the human rights of people in more than 100 countries. Human Rights Watch is headquartered in New York with staff based in more than 80 locations around the world.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said the government announcement was in response to Human Rights Watch’s conduct during the ongoing Hong Kong protests. Human Rights Watch has repeatedly called on Hong Kong authorities not to use excessive or unnecessary force to suppress protests, and has reported on violence by protesters.

The Chinese government, as well as Hong Kong authorities, should fulfill Hong Kong people’s rights to vote and to stand for free and fair elections. The Hong Kong government should establish an independent commission to investigate excessive use of force by the police, Human Rights Watch said.