Hong Kong is becoming an international concern, and this is not about COVID-19. The text of the following statement addressed to the People’s Republic of China was released by the Governments of the United States of America, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.
We, the Foreign Ministers of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, and the United States Secretary of State, reiterate our serious concern regarding China’s imposition of new rules to disqualify elected legislators in Hong Kong. Following the imposition of the National Security Law and postponement of September’s Legislative Council elections, this decision further undermines Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy and rights and freedoms.
China’s action is a clear breach of its international obligations under the legally binding, UN-registered Sino-British Joint Declaration. It breaches both China’s commitment that Hong Kong will enjoy a ‘high degree of autonomy’, and the right to freedom of speech.
The disqualification rules appear part of a concerted campaign to silence all critical voices following the postponement of September’s Legislative Council elections, the imposition of charges against a number of elected legislators, and actions to undermine the freedom of Hong Kong’s vibrant media.
We call on China to stop undermining the rights of the people of Hong Kong to elect their representatives in keeping with the Joint Declaration and Basic Law. For the sake of Hong Kong’s stability and prosperity, it is essential that China and the Hong Kong authorities respect the channels for the people of Hong Kong to express their legitimate concerns and opinions.
As a leading member of the international community, we expect China to live up to its international commitments and its duty to the people of Hong Kong. We urge the Chinese central authorities to re-consider their actions against Hong Kong’s elected legislature and immediately reinstate the Legislative Council members.