Security law for Hong Kong condemned
UK, Australia and Canada issued a joint statement on 22 May 2020 expressing deep concern over China's proposals for legislation on national security in Hong Kong. Responding to China's proposed new security law for Hong Kong, UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne and Canadian Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne, said the move would undermine the principle of 'One Country, Two Systems'. We are deeply concerned at proposals for introducing legislation related to national security in Hong Kong, the joint statement read.
- The statement referred to the "legally binding" joint declaration between China and UK which sets out that the city-state will have a "high degree of autonomy".
- The legally binding Joint Declaration, signed by China and the UK, sets out that Hong Kong will have a high degree of autonomy.
- It also provides that rights and freedoms, including those of the person, of the press, of assembly, of association and others, will be ensured by law in Hong Kong, and that the provisions of the two UN covenants on human rights (the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights) shall remain in force.
- The Sino-British Joint Declaration on the question of Hong Kong was signed in Beijing on December 19, 1984, by the Prime Ministers of China and Britain. The two governments agreed China would reassume control of Hong Kong from July 1, 1997.
- The main body of the treaty has eight articles and three annexes and it states that China's basic policies regarding Hong Kong "will remain unchanged for 50 years" including the promise that the city would retain a high degree of autonomy.
- Making such a law on Hong Kong's behalf without the direct participation of its people, legislature or judiciary would clearly undermine the principle of 'One Country, Two Systems', under which Hong Kong is guaranteed a high degree of autonomy, the joint statement from three Foreign Ministers said.
- Earlier, the US condemned the Chinese Communist Party's proposal to "unilaterally and arbitrarily" impose national security legislation on Hong Kong, urging Beijing to reconsider its disastrous proposal, abide by its international obligations, and respect Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy.
- The proposal that was announced threatened to erode the freedom that distinguishes the financial hub from the rest of the country.
- The legislation would allow Beijing to take aim at the large often violent anti-government protests that roiled Hong Kong for much of last year.
- However, China has defended the proposal saying that such legislations are necessary to protect the country's sovereignty from external forces determined to undermine the Communist Party.