Wednesday, 02 December, 2020


China refutes Five Eyes statement over top legislature's HK decision

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian takes a question at the daily media briefing in Beijing GREG BAKER AFP via Getty Images
Bennie Garza | 21 November, 2020, 07:12

The Guardian reported that the measure also barred any individual from serving in the legislature if they refused to recognize China's sovereignty over Hong Kong, sought assistance from foreign countries to intervene in the region's affairs or undertook any action that would, according to Beijing, appear to harm the semi-autonomous region's national security.

"I don't care if they have five eyes or 10 eyes".

Zhao's remarks came in response to the alliance's Wednesday rebuke on the dismissal of four "pro-democracy" lawmakers from the Hong Kong legislature that saw over a dozen "pro-democracy" officials resign in protest from the body.

The families have made several public appearances urging authorities in Hong Kong and China to allow them to speak to the detainees and appoint their own chosen lawyers to defend them against charges of illegal border crossing.

The statement said: 'China's action is a clear breach of its global obligations under the legally binding, UN-registered Sino-British Joint Declaration.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry pushed back, saying it "deplores" the statement and that it had interfered in China's internal affairs.

Commenting on the criticism, Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson of China's foreign ministry defended Hong Kong's decision to dismiss the pro-democracy lawmakers, a video released by the ministry shows.

A statement signed by the foreign ministers of the UK, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand expressed "serious concern" over Hong Kong.

In a statement, the group of five countries also known as "Five Eyes" alliance said that China's imposition of new rules to disqualify elected legislators in Hong Kong appeared to be part of a campaign to silence critics.

Britain now considers China to have broken the Joint Declaration three times, including with national security legislation for Hong Kong introduced this year. In August, member states claimed China was "eroding the Hong Kong people's fundamental rights and liberties" through the law, refusing to factor support from almost six dozen countries that could judiciously distinguish China's sovereign imperatives from political sensationalism. Most recently, UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab stated that Beijing's stance toward opposition lawmakers was "part of a pattern apparently created to harass and stifle all voices critical of China's policies".

It is essential for Hong Kong's stability and prosperity, they say, for people to express their legitimate concerns.

In response to the security law, the United Kingdom offered Hong Kong residents still holding British National Overseas (BNO) status a route to British citizenship.

The news comes a week after Dominic Raab said the move by Beijing represented a "clear breach" of the joint declaration which was supposed to guarantee the former colony a high degree of autonomy under Chinese rule.

Earlier this month, a reporter who helped investigate suspected police involvement in a violent attack on protesters past year was arrested, in what journalists said was a tactic to discourage reporting.

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