WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The intelligence division Five Eyes said Wednesday that imposing new rules to disqualify Hong Kong-elected lawmakers, Chinas appeared to be part of a campaign to silence critics and called on Beijing to return course.
We urge Chinese central authorities to review their actions against Hong Kong’s elected legislature and immediately reinstate members of the Legislative Council, the foreign ministers of Australia, Britain, Canada, New Zealand and the United States said in a joint statement. .
Hong Kong ousted four members of the opposition from its legislature last week after Beijing gave city authorities new powers to curb dissent. The move sparked mass resignations by Hong Kong pro-democracy opposition lawmakers.
He also raised further alarms in the West about the level of Hong Kong autonomy, promised under a single country, the two-system formula when Britain ended its colonial rule and gave Hong Kong back to China in 1997.
China’s move is a clear violation of its international obligations under the legally enforced UN-Sino-British Joint Declaration, the five countries said.
Britain now considers that China has violated the Joint Declaration three times, including the national security legislation for Hong Kong introduced this year.
Washington has already imposed sanctions on Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam and other Chinese repression officials and has warned of further steps.
Hong Kong police said they had arrested three former lawmakers Wednesday morning during the May and June incidents in which smelly liquid was spilled into the city legislature, an act police said was intended to cause harm .
China denies restricting rights and freedoms in the global financial hub, but authorities in Hong Kong and Beijing have moved quickly to quell dissent after anti-government protests erupted in June last year and plunged the city into crisis.
Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk; editing by Diane Craft and Stephen Coates
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