EU High Representative Borrell criticizes the political situation in Hong Kong as “alert”.
The National People’s Congress (NPC) of the Communist Party of China (CPC) has purged Hong Kong’s political system and democrats on the principle of “patriots ruling Hong Kong”. The European Commission and EU High Representative Josep Borrell released an annual report on Friday (12), listing Hong Kong’s political and economic development in 2020. In the report, Borrell criticized the deterioration of the political situation in Hong Kong over the past year, which has reached an alarming state. The EU called for an end to the persecution of people who promote democratic values.
Burrell said that Beijing‘s implementation of the “Hong Kong State Security Law” in Hong Kong in 2020 has suppressed democratic forces in Hong Kong, stifled dissent and pluralism, and infringed on various fundamental freedoms. He added that “the mass arrests in January this year confirm that the situation is worsening and that China is clearly dismantling one country, two systems and violating its international commitments and the Basic Law of Hong Kong.” Burrell also criticized China’s National People’s Congress for passing a bill to supposedly “improve” Hong Kong’s political system, which is actually a step backwards.
The EU annual report highlights that Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy has been seriously infringed upon in 2020, as have democratic principles and fundamental freedoms. All this shows that the Chinese authorities have not fulfilled their promise of “50 years of no change” and that the situation is deteriorating rapidly. The implementation of the Law on State Security in Hong Kong has had a chilling effect on the exercise of Hong Kong people’s rights and freedoms and has suppressed the opposition, and the report says that the Hong Kong government has used it to arrest a large number of democrats, and that the trend of self-censorship in the media and academia is accelerating.
The EU also questioned that the enactment of such national security laws with extraterritorial effects would affect the interests of EU citizens and European companies.
In January this year, the European Parliament passed a resolution urging EU countries to consider imposing sanctions on Hong Kong and Chinese individuals who violate human rights, including Carrie Lam, the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, under the EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime.
The 2020 Annual Report also mentions the EU’s economic and trade ties with Hong Kong. Hong Kong currently operates 1,560 European companies with 163 billion euros of investment. Even after a full year of the pandemic, Hong Kong’s bilateral trade with the EU in 2020 amounted to 27 billion euros, making Hong Kong the EU’s 12th largest trading partner in Asia. The report also pointed out that more than 60% of foreign direct investment in and out of China through Hong Kong.
The report judges the implementation of the “Hong Kong National Security Law”, further impact on the trade between the two sides.
The Hong Kong government issued a statement on Friday night (12) to refute the EU report, that “the allegations are unjustified.