Ministers from Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, together with the USA, have issued a joint statement condemning China’s National Security Laws in Hong Kong.
The joint statement issued on November 19th addresses the serious concerns of the CANZUK countries, and the USA, of China’s imposition of new rules to disqualify elected legislators in Hong Kong.
The condemnation of Chinese aggression comes three months following the CANZUK countries’ earlier joint statement addressing opposition to the Chinese government’s disqualification of political candidates and postponement of Legislative Council elections.
The imposed security laws have generated wide-spread concern amongst the CANZUK countries, with the Chinese Communist Party breaching the legally binding agreement between the UK and China which ensured that the rights and freedoms of Hong Kong would be protected.
The statement issued by the Ministers of Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, along with the USA, is below:
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Joint statement on Hong Kong
“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.”
CANZUK International will continue to liaise with foreign affairs representatives across Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom and discuss ongoing policy developments regarding security, diplomacy and human rights for British overseas nationals in Hong Kong.
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