G7 issues joint statement on China’s revision of Hong Kong’s electoral system

The U.S. and other G-7 foreign ministers issued a joint statement on March 12 expressing serious concern about the Chinese government’s decision to amend Hong Kong‘s election laws. The statement said Beijing‘s decision to amend Hong Kong’s electoral law “strongly suggests that the Chinese authorities are determined to eliminate dissenting voices and views in Hong Kong. The G7 foreign ministers and EU diplomatic chiefs unanimously called on China to respect Hong Kong’s freedom and autonomy and to end its crackdown on pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong.

The following is a full translation of the G-7 statement.

G7 Statement on Election Changes in Hong Kong

We – the G7 Foreign Ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States – are united with the High Representative of the European Union in expressing grave concern over the decision of the Chinese Communist authorities to fundamentally erode the democratic elements of Hong Kong’s electoral system. This decision is a strong indication that the mainland Chinese authorities are determined to eliminate dissenting voices and views in Hong Kong.

The revised package adopted by the National People’s Congress, coupled with the mass arrests of pro-democracy activists and politicians, undermines Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy under the principle of “one country, two systems”. It would also stifle political pluralism and depart from the goal of moving toward universal suffrage as enshrined in the Basic Law. Moreover, the changes would reduce freedom of expression, a right guaranteed in the Sino-British Joint Declaration.

The people of Hong Kong should be trusted to cast their votes in the best interests of Hong Kong. Discussing different views, rather than silencing them, is the way to ensure Hong Kong’s stability and prosperity.

We call on China to act in accordance with the Sino-British Joint Declaration and other legal obligations, and to respect Hong Kong’s fundamental rights and freedoms as enshrined in the Basic Law. We also call on the Chinese and Hong Kong authorities to restore confidence in Hong Kong’s political institutions and to stop the unjustified repression of those who promote democratic values and defend rights and freedoms.