US secretary of State Mike Pompeo has heavily critcised China’s plan to create a new security law in Hong Kong.
Pompeo labelled China’s attempt to ban “treason, secession, sedition and subversion” in Hong Kong as a “death knell” for the freedom of the city.
“The United States strongly urges Beijing to reconsider its disastrous proposal, abide by its international obligations, and respect Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy, democratic institutions, and civil liberties,” said Pompeo.
Pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong have rallied support from governments around the world after China announced the law at the annual National People’s Congress.
Raab and others agree
A joint statement from United Kingdom foreign secretary Dominic Raab, Australian foreign minister Marise Payne and Canadian foreign minister François-Philippe Champagne, meanwhile, have all but echoed Pompeo’s sentiment.
“We are deeply concerned at proposals for introducing legislation related to national security in Hong Kong,” read the joint statement.
“The legally binding Joint Declaration, signed by China and the UK, sets out that Hong Kong will have a high degree of autonomy. It also provides that rights and freedoms, including those of the person, of the press, of assembly, of association and others, will be ensured by law in Hong Kong, and that the provisions of the two UN covenants on human rights (the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights) shall remain in force.
“Making such a law on Hong Kong’s behalf without the direct participation of its people, legislature or judiciary would clearly undermine the principle of ‘One Country, Two Systems’, under which Hong Kong is guaranteed a high degree of autonomy.”
United States president Donald Trump’s national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, concluded: “There are privileges that Hong Kong accrues because it’s considered a free system. We’d have to look over whether those concessions could continue to be made.
“If China moves forward and takes strong action under this new national security law America will respond, and I think other countries in the world will respond, including the United Kingdom and many other of our allies and friends.”