Australia, together with the UK and Canada, issues a statement condemning Chinese security laws in Hong Kong
Australia has joined the UK and Canada by expressing “deep concern” over China’s proposed security laws in Hong Kong, which they say undermine the city’s autonomy.
The Chinese Communist Party unveiled the details of the legislation on Friday, which critics say will affect the rights, freedoms and judicial independence of the 7.5 million people living there.
Australian Foreign Secretary Marise Payne joined her UK counterpart Dominic Raab and Canada Francois-Philippe Champagne, saying that the laws would violate the legally binding Sino-British 1984 joint statement.
Under that pact, China agreed that Hong Kong would continue to exist as a capitalist economy after its 1997 delivery, with the people enjoying the same democratic rights and freedoms that the British enjoyed for fifty years
“We are very concerned about the proposals for the introduction of national security legislation in Hong Kong,” said the statement by foreign ministers.
Pro-democracy legislator Eddie Chu is being removed by security after he protested the Chinese proposal for new security laws over Hong Kong in the Hong Kong Legislative Council on Friday.
Australia has joined the UK and Canada by expressing “deep concern” over China’s proposed security laws in Hong Kong, which they say undermine the city’s autonomy. (Photo: Protester at Hong Kong Legislative Meeting)
“The legally binding joint statement, signed by China and the United Kingdom, states that Hong Kong will have a high degree of autonomy.”
Ministers said the joint statement provides that Hong Kong law guarantees the rights and freedoms, including freedom of the press and the rights of people to assemble and associate.
The provisions of the UN human rights covenants also remain in force under the joint statement.
“Making such a law on behalf of Hong Kong, without the direct participation of its people, legislature or judiciary, would clearly undermine the principle of ‘One Country, Two Systems’, which guarantees Hong Kong a high degree of autonomy,” ministers said.
Britain, Australia and Canada have large populations of naturalized Hong Kongers, thousands of whom fled the city before being transferred to China in 1997, and expatriates in Hong Kong.
Pro-democracy activists and politicians in Hong Kong have been opposed to such legislation for years, claiming that it could affect the city’s autonomy.
Some pro-democracy lawmakers have denounced the plans as “the end of Hong Kong.”
Members of the pro-democracy party speak to the press and distribute flyers against China’s proposed security law over Hong Kong
Australian Foreign Secretary Marise Payne (pictured) has joined the UK and Canada to condemn the proposed laws
During Friday’s proposal to the Hong Kong Legislative Council, a protest began involving many pro-democracy lawmakers.
A protester, Eddie Chu, was removed by security.
Pictures and images show opposition lawmakers holding signs that read ‘CCP trample on Hong Kong legislature’ and ‘Hong Kong becomes Xinjiang’ before some of them were dragged out.
US President Donald Trump said America would act “very strongly” if China went ahead with the proposal.
“I don’t know what it is, because nobody knows it yet. When it happens, we will tackle that issue very strongly, “Trump told reporters.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo labeled the proposal as “disastrous.”
The United States strongly urges Beijing to revise its disastrous proposal, to abide by its international obligations, and to respect Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy, democratic institutions and civil liberties, which are essential to its preservation of his special status under US law, “he said.
It comes after months of violent protests in Hong Kong last year about plans to extradite Hong Kong residents to mainland China.
Hong Kong went into the biggest political crisis since the return of the former British colony to Chinese rule in 1997, with a wave of protests against a now repealed extradition law that would send people to mainland China for trial by the Communist Party-controlled courts.
The protests started in April 2019 and the bill was eventually withdrawn in September.
Hong Kong pro-democracy activists and politicians have been opposed to such legislation for years because they could compromise the autonomy of the city