The UK Foreign Minister Dominic Raab on Wednesday voiced concern after the Chinese regime disqualified four pro-democracy lawmakers in Hong Kong.
Earlier in the day, Hong Kong moved to disqualify four pro-democracy legislators, after Beijing passed a resolution that would allow the local government to remove lawmakers from their positions if they’re deemed to threaten national security.
“China’s decision to arbitrarily remove elected pro-democracy Hong Kong legislators from their positions represents a further assault on Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy and freedoms under the UK-China Joint Declaration,” Raab said in a statement.
“This campaign to harass, stifle, and disqualify democratic opposition tarnishes China’s international reputation and undermines Hong Kong’s long-term stability,” he added.
A coalition of international lawmakers also said they condemned the move “in the strongest possible terms.”
The Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC), established earlier this year to coordinate policies among democratic nations to address the Chinese regime’s threats, expressed solidarity with the disqualified lawmakers.
“The expulsion of democratically elected representatives is an unacceptable assault on the high degree of autonomy promised to Hong Kong in the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the Hong Kong Basic Law,” IPAC said in a statement.
“That this blatant violation of international law has been made by Beijing’s unelected National People’s Congress Standing Committee demonstrates the contempt with which the Chinese Communist Party and its leadership under Xi Jinping regards the Hong Kong people and their democratic values.”
The IPAC said the move is another demonstration that the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) is determined to forcefully end the “One Country, Two Systems” principle, after imposing the national security law in July.
The IPAC urged governments of democratic countries to “act quickly and decisively” to “hold the Chinese leadership and its Hong Kong outlets accountable” and to “defend the norms and values of the international rules based order.”
China’s National People’s Congress Standing Committee, which held meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday, passed a resolution stating that those who support the city’s independence or refuse to acknowledge China’s sovereignty over the city, as well as commit acts that threaten national security or ask external forces to interfere in the city’s affairs should be disqualified, according to the state-owned Xinhua News Agency.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.