The European Union has transferred its concern about the “violation of democratic principles and political pluralism” in the Hong Kong legislative elections, held this Sunday.
“The Legislative Council election saw a reduction in the number of seats directly elected by Hong Kong residents. The fundamental rights of the citizens of Hong Kong were also affected by threats to take legal action against those who asked not to participate ”, the EU High Representative for Foreign Policy, Josep Borrell, denounced in a statement.
In addition, the head of European diplomacy recalled the arrest of 47 “defenders of democracy” in January 2021 for their role in the primary elections in July 2020. “Many of these people have not been able to appear in the elections to the Legislative Council, since they were detained on charges in accordance with the National Security law,” he lamented.
This is why the European Union also considers that the arrests of these people have “had an impact” on the number of candidates in legislative elections.
Similarly, the European body has highlighted the intensification of “pressure on civil society” based on the dissolution of conferences of trade unions and human rights defenders – including Amnesty International -, and including freedom of the press, based on the closure of the newspaper ‘Apple Daily’.
“The prolonged preventive detention of some people involved in non-violent acts is another sign of the continuous reduction of Human Rights and fundamental freedoms in Hong Kong,” said Borrell, who also pointed out that “The independence of the Judiciary must be guaranteed”.
Thus, the EU sees in these elections and in the social pressure and against Human Rights “one more step in the dismantling of the principle of ‘One country, two systems’” agreed between the Chinese and Hong Kong administrations.
“The EU will closely follow developments, including the election of the Executive Director scheduled for March 2022. The EU calls on the Chinese and Hong Kong authorities to honor their national and international commitments, in particular the commitment to democratic representation to through universal suffrage ”, has settled Borrell.
SANCTIONS BY THE UNITED STATES
The Office of East Asia and Pacific Affairs of the United States Department of State published a report on the situation in Hong Kong on Monday and announced that, in coordination with the Department of the Treasury, will impose sanctions and visa restrictions for contributing “materially” to China‘s failure to comply with its obligations under the Joint Declaration.
Among the five sanctioned are: Chen Dong, deputy director of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in Hong Kong (LOCPG) and four other deputy directors of LOCPG, Lu Xinning, Tan Tieniu, He Jing and Yin Zonghua. On LOCPG, the United States asserts that “it has repeatedly undermined the high degree of autonomy promised to Hong Kong.”
“The State Department has publicly condemned the erosion of rights and freedoms in Hong Kong. These developments include fundamental changes to its political system that reduce the proportion of directly elected seats in the Legislative Council and introduce a strict multi-tiered veto system that gives Beijing effective veto power, without judicial oversight, over the capacity of candidates. of the opposition to run for office “, has underpinned the report.
Following the publication of the sanctions, the spokesman for the US State Department, Ned Price, has assured that “The United States is concerned about China’s continued efforts to undermine democratic institutions in Hong Kong and erode Hong Kong’s autonomy in its judiciary, civil service, press and academic institutions.”
It also recalled that foreign financial institutions that knowingly carry out important transactions with the sanctioned persons are also subject to sanctions.
HONG KONG DEFENDS THE COMMITTEES
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam has previously applauded the holding of the elections despite low turnout –just 30 percent– in elections that have been described by many as “only for patriots.”
“If we only talk about participation, it is somewhat lower than in the past. But it cannot be said that they are not important elections and that they do not have the support of citizens when 1.35 million people have gone to the polls, “he asserted during a press conference after hearing the first results, which give a vast majority to the candidates related to Beijing.
In this sense, he has ensured that under a system that does not force the population to go to vote, the percentage of the population registered to vote is more than enough, as has been collected by the local radio station RTHK.
Although he has said he does not know why thousands of people have decided not to go to the polls, he has stated that he does not expect everyone to agree with the legislative reforms introduced during the last year and that, according to the opposition, they aim to silence to dissidents and increase Beijing’s power over the region.
The electoral reform approved earlier this year includes increasing the seats in the Hong Kong Parliament, from 70 to 90, and the decision that the newly enlarged City Election Committee can appoint 40 of the city’s legislators. .
Some MPs, such as Priscilla Leung Mei Fun and Junius Kwan Yiu Ho, have been elected by the Committee. The new Legislative Council will include new faces such as Tang Fei, vice president of the Hong Kong Teacher Workers Federation, Nixie Lam, a member of the All China Youth Federation, and Wendy Hong, who has run for the first time in the polls.
The Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office in a statement applauded the results of the elections and pointed out that they underscored the progress and advantages of the new electoral system, which represents “a successful practice of Hong Kong-style democracy.”
However, countries in the international community – such as the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom – have expressed their concern about the “erosion of democratic elements” in the Chinese region as a result of the elections.
These countries have been joined by the G7 members – Canada, France, Italy, Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom – who have described the process of “erosion of the democratic elements of the Hong Kong electoral system”, according to a statement from the group.
(with EP information)
China spoke of “democratic progress” in the Hong Kong elections: only regime candidates participated
Hong Kong elections: G7 and EU expressed concern over “erosion of democratic elements”