WAHSHINGTON: The United States on Wednesday (Nov 11) warned of further sanctions against China, which it said “flagrantly violated” Hong Kong’s autonomy after the disqualification of four pro-democracy lawmakers.
“Beijing’s recent actions disqualifying pro-democracy legislators from Hong Kong’s Legislative Council leave no doubt that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has flagrantly violated its international commitments,” said Robert O’Brien, US national security adviser.
He added that the United States would continue “to identify and sanction those responsible for extinguishing Hong Kong’s freedom”.
On Monday, Washington imposed sanctions on four more officials in Hong Kong’s governing and security establishment over their alleged role in crushing dissent.
In August, it put sanctions on Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam, the territory’s current and former police chiefs, and other top officials.
“ASSAULT ON HONG KONG’S FREEDOMS”
Britain’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the expulsion of four lawmakers constituted an assault on Hong Kong’s freedoms as set out in the UK-China Joint Declaration.
“This campaign to harass, stifle and disqualify democratic opposition tarnishes China’s international reputation and undermines Hong Kong’s long-term stability,” Raab said in a statement.
Germany, holder of the European Union’s rotating presidency, also criticised China.
A foreign ministry spokesman said on Wednesday the decision to remove the opposition members was the latest step of a “deeply worrying” trend which was aimed at undermining pluralism and freedom of expression.
“The citizens of Hong Kong have the right to free and fair elections and to the freedoms and rights guaranteed in the Basic Law,” the German Foreign Ministry spokesman said.
Those rights have to be respected and Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy must be preserved, the spokesman said, adding that China had made an international commitment to do so.
The foreign ministry spokesman urged authorities to quickly set a new date for the postponed elections of the Asian financial hub’s legislative council as quickly as possible.
On Wednesday, the Chinese parliament adopted a resolution allowing the city’s executive to expel lawmakers deemed to be advocating Hong Kong independence, colluding with foreign forces or threatening national security, without having to go through the courts.
Shortly after, the Hong Kong government expelled the four lawmakers.
Later that day, the remaining 15 members of the legislative council’s pro-democracy camp said they would resign in protest at the ousting of their colleagues.