German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Thursday criticized China’s plans to enact new security laws in Hong Kong, saying that “freedom of expression and assembly” and democratic debate “must continue to be respected in the future.”
In a statement, Maas announced: “We agreed in the EU: Hong Kong’s high level of autonomy must not be perforated … Hong Kong citizens enjoy the freedoms and rights granted to them by the Constitution and” one country, two systems “principle. We hope these legal principles are upheld. “
Maas’s comments came after the Chinese National People’s Congress (NPC) voted strongly in favor of a proposal to draft a controversial national security bill for Hong Kong.
“The principle of ‘one country, two systems’ and the rule of law is ultimately the basis for Hong Kong’s stability and prosperity. Even security laws can be allowed to call these fundamental values into question. Freedom of opinion and assembly, and also democratic debate in Hong Kong. “It must also be respected in the future,” said Misa.
Read more: Hong Kong ‘robbed of his rights’
Erosion of freedom
Of the Chinese Communist Party delegations, 2,878 supported the new law and one opposed. Six abstentions.
The vote empowered committees that stood to draft laws canceling “secession, subversion of state power, terrorism and actions that endanger national security in Hong Kong.”
Opponents see the proposed new law as a further threat to the special status of China’s semi-autonomous region.
Read more: Many Hong Kong residents leave if they can
Violation of international commitments
In a joint statement, the United States, Britain, Canada and Australia said Beijing’s new security law on Hong Kong placed China in direct violation of its international commitments.
Top diplomats from four countries said they felt “deeply concerned” that such a law “would limit the freedom of the people of Hong Kong, and by doing so, dramatically erode Hong Kong’s autonomy and the system that made it so prosperous.”
Their statement added: “The world focus on a global pandemic requires increased confidence in the government and international cooperation. The unprecedented Beijing move risks having the opposite effect.”
Appearing in a videoconference before the Security Council to discuss cooperation between the EU and the UN, EU Chair Josep Borrell expressed his concern about “steps taken by China” and – which echoes other countries – said that the EU believed that the draft law the law failed to comply with China’s international commitments.
Britain seems to be welcoming Hong Kong for up to one year
British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab told reporters that Britain would change its rules around the rights of “British National Overseas” (BNO) passport holders if Beijing continued the bill.
Current BNO holders can enter the UK without a visa and remain for up to six months, but they do not have the right to live in the UK.
Raab said that could be changed to allow for an extended 12-month period, adding “that in itself will give way to future citizenship.”
Hong Kong – a British colony for more than 150 years – gave Hong Kong residents a special BNO status before giving up the territory back to China in 1997. At that time, it was seen as a compromise that occurred with Beijing which deliberately failed to provide automatic rights. for permanent residence in England given to many members of the former United Kingdom.
“If China continues to go this way and implement this national security law, we will change that status, and we will remove the six-month limit,” Raab said.
mvb / msh (AFP, dpa, EFE, AP)
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