All Group of Seven (G-7) foreign ministers on June 17 issued a joint statement calling on Beijing to reconsider imposing the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) so-called “national security” legislation on Hong Kong.
Beijing’s rubber-stamp congress bypassed Hong Kong’s local legislature in late May to enact the legislation that would criminalize activities connected to subversion, succession, terrorism, and foreign interference.
The proposed law is seen as a major blow to the city’s autonomy. It has attracted condemnation both inside and outside Hong Kong and brought protesters back to the streets. It will be implemented in the territory once the National People’s Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC) drafts details of the legislation.
As an international community we all have a stake in 🇭🇰success & prosperity. With my @G7 colleagues 🇨🇦🇫🇷🇩🇪🇮🇹 🇯🇵🇺🇸🇪🇺we reiterated our grave concern at China’s decision to impose the national security law. HK’s autonomy & rights & freedoms must be protected https://t.co/tmab1jYfd3
— Dominic Raab (@DominicRaab) June 17, 2020
The foreign ministers expressed their “grave concern regarding China’s decision to impose a national security law on Hong Kong,” noting that it would violate Beijing’s international commitments and breach Hong Kong’s Basic Law, which guarantees that the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights can remain in force in the territory.
“The proposed national security law would risk seriously undermining the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ principle and the territory’s high degree of autonomy,” the foreign ministers of the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom said in a joint statement with the EU’s High Representative.
Under the Sino-British Joint Declaration, which set the terms of Hong Kong’s transfer to Chinese rule, the regime agreed to grant the city autonomy and freedoms not enjoyed in the mainland, under the formula of “one country, two systems.”
The statement came just hours before the National People’s Congress standing committee was set to convene in Beijing, although it was not clear whether the legislation would be discussed.
It also came on the heels of an announcement from veteran pro-Beijing politician Tam Yiu-chung, who sits on the NPCSC. He said that the proposed legislation could allow extraditions from Hong Kong to mainland China, AFP reported.
“If the central government thinks it is necessary to do so, not to be handled in Hong Kong courts, then that is an option,” he told Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) in an interview Wednesday when asked whether Hong Kongers could be extradited for trial.
“I believe some cases would touch on foreign affairs given the proposed law would regulate the foreign forces that have meddled in Hong Kong affairs,” he said. “This is clearly a matter that needs to be handled by the central government.”
Deng Zhonghua, deputy director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office—Beijing’s agency for handling those territories’ policies—said on Monday that China’s central authorities should have the power to exercise jurisdiction over “most serious national security cases” in Hong Kong under the national security law.
The G-7 ministers said in their statement that the proposed law “would jeopardize the system which has allowed Hong Kong to flourish and made it a success over many years.”
“We are also extremely concerned that this action would curtail and threaten the fundamental rights and freedoms of all the population protected by the rule of law and the existence of an independent justice system.
“We strongly urge the government of China to reconsider this decision,” the statement concluded.
In response, China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi said in talks with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that Beijing “firmly opposes” the statement from the foreign ministers, and that China is determined to push forward the legislation for Hong Kong.
China “urges the U.S. to earnestly respect China’s sovereignty,” Yang told Pompeo, China’s foreign ministry said in a statement on Thursday.