Wednesday, 29 July 2020
The Council of the European Union has expressed its grave concerns over the situation in Hong Kong following China’s new local security law, and presented a plan of action.
In its conclusions on Hong Kong’s security law, the Council restated its support for Hong Kong’s “high degree of autonomy” and expressed its solidarity with the people of Hong Kong.
The Hong Kong security law, ratified by China on 30 June, created a legal framework to deal with security issues. In effect, it is now illegal for Hong Kong to separate itself from the rest of the country, to undermine the power of the central government, to collude with foreign powers, and, for its people, to commit acts of terrorism.
Sticking to its word, the Council has endorsed a Hong Kong response package, to be carried out at EU and Member State-level.
In the response package, the government ministers from all Member States gathered in the Council propose to monitor the legislative elections in Hong Kong on the 6th of September, consider what the situation could mean for future visa and asylum applications, and look into expanding scholarship and exchange opportunities for Hong Kong students.
The Council also proposes to limit the export of “specific sensitive equipment and technologies”, to prevent these from being used for cyber-surveillance and repression.
The ministers are authorised to commit their respective governments to the Council’s conclusions.
During the Hong Kong protests fighting China’s increased influence in Hong Kong, many protesters were arrested under the new security law. Overall, the security law has limited Hong Kong’s relative political and legal independence under the original ‘One Country, Two Systems’-regulation.
The Council regards the security law as “an imposition” on Hong Kong.
“The EU is particularly concerned about the extensive erosion of rights and freedoms that were supposed to remain protected until at least 2047; about the lack of safeguards and clarity in the law; and about its extraterritorial provisions,” the Council stated.
The Brussels Times