US, Britain say China breached Hong Kong deal following disqualification of lawmakers

Pro-democracy Hong Kong lawmakers tell a news conference on November 11, 2020 that they will resign
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Pro-democracy Hong Kong lawmakers tell a news conference on November 11, 2020 that they will resign in solidarity with four colleagues disqualified by the city’s pro-Beijing authorities AFP/Anthony WALLACE

19 Nov 2020 08:29AM(Updated: 19 Nov 2020 08:36AM)

WASHINGTON: The United States, Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand on Wednesday (Nov 19) jointly accused China of violating its commitments following the disqualification of pro-democracy lawmakers from Hong Kong’s legislature.

The foreign ministers from the Five Eyes intelligence sharing group said that China was going against its 1984 promise to Britain that it would preserve autonomy in the financial hub after the then colony’s handover in 1997.Advertisement

“China’s action is a clear breach of its international obligations under the legally binding, UN-registered Sino-British Joint Declaration,” the nations said in a joint statement, reiterating individual remarks.

READ: UK says China has breached Hong Kong treaty, will consider sanctions

READ: US warns of further China sanctions over Hong Kong moves

The foreign ministers said that the latest move appeared to be part of a “concerted campaign to silence all critical voices” in the financial hub.Advertisement

“For the sake of Hong Kong’s stability and prosperity, it is essential that China and the Hong Kong authorities respect the channels for the people of Hong Kong to express their legitimate concerns and opinions,” they said.

Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing authorities last week disqualified four lawmakers in the legislature, only half of whose seats are directly elected, prompting the mass resignation of their colleagues in solidarity.

READ: Hong Kong lawmakers’ resignations a ‘challenge’ to authority – China

China earlier this year imposed a tough security law aimed at curbing dissent in Hong Kong, which last year saw massive and sometimes destructive pro-democracy protests.Source: AFP/ac

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