On 11 November, the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress adopted a “Decision on the Qualification of Members of the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region”, including among others the requirement for loyalty to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. Under this decision, Members of the Legislative Council can be immediately disqualified by the executive without any due process, right of appeal or involvement of the judicial authorities.
The Hong Kong Government immediately declared four sitting pan-democrat lawmakers to have been disqualified under the decision. Fifteen further pan-democrat Legislative Council Members subsequently resigned in protest.
These latest steps constitute a further severe blow to political pluralism and freedom of opinion in Hong Kong. Following on from the imposition of the National Security Law on 30 June, this latest arbitrary decision from Beijing further significantly undermines Hong Kong’s autonomy under the “One Country, Two Systems” principle, and the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms in Hong Kong, contrary to China’s international commitments.
We call for the immediate reversal of these decisions by the authorities in Beijing and Hong Kong Government and for the immediate reinstatement of the Legislative Council members.
The European Union is closely following the political situation in Hong Kong, following the imposition of the National Security Law on 30 June and the postponement by 12 months of the Legislative Council elections that had been due to take place on 6 September. The EU adopted a coordinated package of measures in July to express political support for Hong Kong’s autonomy under the “One Country, Two Systems” principle, and solidarity with its people. The High Representative/Vice President is due to report to the Council of the European Union before the end of the year, in accordance with its conclusions adopted in July. These latest developments will form part of the assessment.
Photo Credit : https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Flag_of_Hong_Kong.svg