EU Should Take China to UN Court Over Hong Kong, Lawmakers Say

June 19, 2020 Updated: June 19, 2020

BRUSSELS—The European Union should take China to the International Court of Justice in The Hague if Beijing imposes a new security law on Hong Kong, the European Parliament voted on Friday, also calling on the bloc to use economic leverage to dissuade China.

EU governments have already expressed “grave concern” over China’s security law for Hong Kong, which democracy activists, diplomats, and some businesses say will jeopardize its semi-autonomous status and its role as a global financial hub.

Hong Kong Police
Riot police disperse stand guard as pro-democracy demonstrators take part a singing song protest at Mong Kok, Hong Kong, on June 12, 2020. (Tyrone Siu/Reuters)
Hong Kong protest vigil
Pro-democracy demonstrators march holding their phones with flashlights on during a protest to mark the first anniversary of a mass rally against the now-withdrawn extradition bill, in Hong Kong on June 9, 2020. (Tyrone Siu/Reuters)

In a resolution, the European Parliament voted 565 in favor to 34 against, with 62 abstentions to protest the security law that Europe, Australia, and the United States say would undermine the “one country, two systems” principle that governs Hong Kong’s autonomy.

The European Parliament “calls on the EU and its member states to consider, in the event the new security law is applied, filing a case before the International Court of Justice,” the resolution said, referring to the highest United Nations legal body and based in The Hague, Netherlands.

The parliament’s resolutions are non-binding but the political signals they provide can steer policy.

The resolution also called on the EU to consider possible economic sanctions on China.

The parliament “believes that the EU should use its economic leverage to challenge China’s crackdown on human rights by economic means,” the resolution said.

The leaders of the EU institutions and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang are set to hold a summit by video on Monday.