Australia will ‘continue to welcome’ Hong Kong residents as calls rise to match offers of safe havens in the UK Australian News | Instant News

The Australian government has said it will “continue to welcome” Hong Kong residents, but will not accept requests to comply with offers of safe havens in Britain for people who fear China. planned security law.

Australian lawmakers from across the political spectrum urge the government to help the people Hongkong, amid growing international concern about the impact of Beijing’s decisions on the rights and freedoms of the city and on the stability of the international financial center.

Britain’s foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, said he had asked Australia and other partners to consider “burden sharing if we see a mass exodus from Hong Kong”.

Britain opens prospects offer shelter and work rights for as many as 3 million people, while the US remembering let people who are no longer “comfortable” in Hong Kong move there. The US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, indicated he was also speaking with allies, including Australia, about further responses.

On Wednesday Beijing put forward “hard representatives” in response to Britain’s offer, warning him to “retreat before it’s too late, leave the Cold War and the mentality of the invaders”.

The Australian Foreign Minister, Marise Payne, joined with colleagues from Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the US for a teleconference to discuss the situation in Hong Kong earlier this week.

The group “reiterated their concerns about Hong Kong in connection with the proposed national security law proposed by the Chinese government”, according to the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

When asked about the possibility of Australia’s offer to resettle Hong Kong residents, a department spokesman pointed to the existing road: “Beyond current Covid-19 restrictions, Hong Kong people can apply for various categories of visas that are relevant for work and live in Australia.

“Our person-to-person links include close family connections, business ties and shared values. This and the extraordinary talents in Hong Kong underline why we continue to welcome Hong Kong citizens to Australia. “

Green leader, Adam Bandt, calling on the government to follow in Britain’s footsteps and offer a safe haven for those “concerned about the increasing risk of authoritarianism in Hong Kong”.

Declaring national security law as a “dangerous” attempt to silence the people of Hong Kong, Bandt asked the prime minister, Scott Morrison, to “follow in the footsteps of Bob Hawke, who after the bloody Tiananmen Square massacre showed extraordinary mercy by opening Australia. Weapons for people Chinese fleeing tyranny. “

“If Boris Johnson opens the door to millions of people who have the potential to flee Hong Kong, it is unacceptable that we do not offer protection to anyone,” Bandt said.

Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, a hawkish Liberal party backbench senator, said Australia needed to “join our allies to take decisive and decisive action against Beijing’s cheating”.

Labor MP Peter Khalil said if China not fulfilling its commitment to guarantee Hong Kong’s rights, or reduce the city’s unique status, it could lead to the possibility of an exodus. The Australian Government must respond to “situations that arise and move quickly”.

Khalil said he had met with many Hong Kong students in Australia who told him “about the threat of violence perpetrated against them and their families because of their support for the protests in Hong Kong”.

Labor foreign affairs spokesman, Penny Wong, said the UK has a special responsibility to lead this problem, should needs arise, but the Australian government “can consider how existing visa arrangements can be used to respond to any needs that arise, and we hope to act with compassion”.

Liberal Member of Parliament Dave Sharma, a former ambassador to Israel, said Australia’s highest priority for now must be to ensure that Hong Kong’s Basic Laws are respected and that their surrender agreements are respected. “Planning for other possibilities is not something we should discuss openly now.”

Liberal Senator David Fawcett, who chairs the joint committee on foreign affairs, defense and trade, joined colleagues from Britain, Canada and New Zealand in asking the United Nations to appoint a new special envoy to monitor the impact of the law on Hong. Kong

In a letter to the Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres, they were concerned about the “erosion of the rule of law and the increasingly serious and urgent human rights situation in Hong Kong”.

A pro-democracy activist took part in a rally in Hong Kong to mark the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. Photo: Anthony Kwan / Getty Images

“Our concern is increasing at this time given the record of the Chinese Communist Party’s violations when faced with differences of opinion from his government, such as the Tiananmen Square massacre that occurred 31 years ago this week,” writing group.

The imposition of sweeping national security law in semi-autonomous regions, passed the legislature, have been labeled “End of Hong Kong” and violations of China’s international obligations.

Under the 1997 Sino-British declaration, when Hong Kong was returned to China by Britain, the region was guaranteed a high degree of autonomy for 50 years under the principle of “one country two systems”.

Its small constitution, Basic Law, requires Hong Kong to enact national security laws and failure to do so for 23 years has been used to justify Beijing’s actions. But other obligations, including universal suffrage for Hong Kong people, have also not been fulfilled.

Since mass protests erupted in Hong Kong a year ago – triggered by a law allowing extradition to China – Beijing has increased encroachment on Hong Kong’s autonomy, including a declaration by its Hong Kong office that the provisions of the Constitution do not apply to them.

Martin Lee, a lawyer, former legislator and co-conceptor of Basic Law, said an offer by a foreign government to help Hong Kong citizens was “generous” but not enough.

He said Beijing had clearly violated its treaty obligations, which had made a major effort in 1997 to have been supported by the international community and registered with the United Nations, precisely to ensure Hong Kong’s elite and business population did not run away.

“I want the international community to unite their minds and produce sustainable multinational solutions for Hong Kong,” he said.

Lee Cheuk-yan, a veteran activist who along with Martin Lee was arrested in a crackdown condemned by Hong Kong authorities earlier this year, said Hong Kong people “don’t just want to get out”.

“I think it’s a shame that they only offer us a way out, and don’t offer to stand beside us in our struggle for Hong Kong,” he said.

With the Australian government relations with China are already under pressure for an initial call for a coronavirus investigation, Coalitio appeared to be treading cautiously on Hong Kong’s development, issuing statements of concern together with similar countries including the US, Britain and Canada, rather than speaking alone.

But Australian politicians say there is a precedent for the government to respond with special programs when needed.


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