The European Union decided on Tuesday to limit exports of equipment that may be used for internal repression in Hong Kong, nearly a month after the Chinese regime imposed a draconian national security law on the former British colony.
The national security law, which went into effect on June 30, criminalizes individuals for any acts of subversion, secession, and collusion with foreign forces against the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) regime, with a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
“These actions call into question China’s will to uphold its international commitments, undermine trust and impact EU-China relations,” they said.
As part of the “coordinated package” in response to the security law, the EU will further limit “exports of specific sensitive equipment and technologies for end-use in Hong Kong, in particular where there are grounds to suspect undesirable use relating to internal repression, the interception of internal communications or cyber-surveillance.”
The EU will also consider easing visa rules for Hong Kong residents, review member states’ extradition arrangements, and boost engagement with civil society in the city, the statement said.
Commenting on the EU foreign ministers’ statement, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell Fontelles wrote on Twitter: “A clear message of solidarity with Hong Kong’s people and of support for its autonomy under ‘One Country, Two Systems.’”
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, who currently chairs the regular meetings of EU foreign ministers, also welcomed the new measures.
Apart from ceasing exports of military equipment and “dual‑use goods” to Hong Kong, Germany will also “treat the territory in the same way as the rest of the People’s Republic of China.”
The EU’s response to the situation in Hong Kong has so far been much milder than that of the United States, Britain, and Australia.
The EU foreign ministers said the bloc will review the impact of its response package before the end of the year.