UK says China ‘hollows out democratic debate in Hong Kong’ in latest spat
Foreign secretary Dominic Raab has condemned Beijing parliament’s decision today to impose measures that will assess Hong Kong politician’s loyalty to Beijing.
“This is the latest step by Beijing to hollow out the space for democratic debate in Hong Kong, contrary to the promises made by China itself,” Raab said in a statement.
“This can only further undermine confidence and trust in China living up to its international responsibilities and legal obligations, as a leading member of the international community.”
In a 2,895 to 0 votes, China’s parliament approved the draft decision to further limit democratic representation in Hong Kong by introducing a vetting process for Hong Kong politicians.
The measures are thought to be retaliation for the pro-democracy protests that erupted in the city in June, following the controversial imposition of the national security law.
“The central authorities have good intentions,” the Liaison Office, Beijing’s representative body in Hong Kong, said in a statement.
“We expect all sectors of the community and the general public to take ownership of the work to amend the law and offer suggestions, so that a strong positive energy can be gathered under the banner of patriotism and love for Hong Kong.”
The move comes only hours after one activist, in a case involving 47, was released on bail from Hong Kong’s High Court after being charged with conspiracy to commit subversion under the national security law.
The ruling by the High Court was on an appeal by prosecutors against a lower court’s decision last week to grant bail to the activists.
The security law, imposed in June, expects defendants to make their own case as to why they do not pose a security threat if released on bail.
15 activists were permitted bail by the lower court, following 47 hearings that spanned four days and saw one defendant hospitalised and others fall ill.