Tag: Hong Kong

China warns ‘Five Eyes’ against interference in Hong Kong affairs
Asia Pacific Focus

China warns ‘Five Eyes’ against interference in Hong Kong affairs

China warns Five Eyes’: China sends out a loud and clear message to the ‘Five Eyes’ alliance group to abstain from interfering in its internal affairs, specifically with regard to supporting Hong Kong pro-democracy lawmakers. Last week, on the orders of Chinese government, Hong Kong expelled four of its pro-democracy lawmakers from legislature after Beijing passed a resolution enabling the Hong Kong government to disqualify elected legislators, who appeared to be a threat to its national security.

On Wednesday, the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing group, a group comprising of five nations including Australia, Britain, Canada, New Zealand and the United States, slammed the new rules imposed by the Chinese regime, for it appeared to be direct attempt to bulldoze Hong Kong’s pro-democracy dream. The group was formed during the Cold War, mainly to monitor the activities of USSR and its allies.

The five nations backed Hong Kong, a former British colony, in its campaign to silence critics and asked the Chinese authorities to reverse course. The territory was handed over to China by the British government in 1997 on the condition of reinstating its autonomy. 

“We urge the Chinese central authorities to re-consider their actions against Hong Kong’s elected legislature and immediately reinstate the Legislative Council members,” foreign ministers from Australia, Britain, Canada, New Zealand and the United States said in a statement. The nations criticised Beijing of sabotaging the rights Hong Kongers to elect their representatives.

Besides, as a mark of revolt against Beijing’s new order, all of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy lawmakers gave in their resignation. The removal of the four lawmakers was seen by many as China’s attempt to curb Hong Kong’s freedom.

Much irked by the foreign leaders for, what it felt like, upending China’s internal state of affairs as Beijing claimed that Hong Kong part of its territory and did not support the idea of complete democracy in an otherwise semi-autonomous state. 

As a response against the external meddling, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian shared a well-articulated message at a daily media conference in Beijing on Thursday. He said that the Five Eyes alliance should be careful as if they tried to harm China’s sovereignty, security or development interests, “their eyes will be plucked out.”

He said, “The Chinese never make trouble and are never afraid of anything” and added that it did not “matter if they had five or 10 eyes”.

Washington denounces China’s new law and the expelling of opposition lawmakers
Asia Pacific Focus

Washington denounces China’s new law and the expelling of opposition lawmakers

Washington denounces China’s new law: Hong Kong has dived further into tensions after a new law was passed by Beijing under which they had disqualified few opposition members by calling them unpatriotic and claimed that they incited the whole pro-democracy protest.

Robert O’Brien, the US national security advisor, blamed China for having “outrageously abused” its global commitments and warned to impose further fresh sanctions on those answerable for quenching Hong Kong’s freedom and democracy. 

Chinese and Hong Kong authorities could confront new sanctions from the United States over their imposing of the new law that disbarred four pro-democracy lawmakers and provoked a statement of a mass resignation by the supportive of the pro-democracy council. 

Within minutes after the disqualifying legislation was declared by Chinese state media, the Hong Kong government delivered an official statement in which they prohibited four lawmakers.

The mass resignation would likewise leave Hong Kong’s governing body with just pro-Beijing legislators, who as of now make a majority, however, would have the option to pass bills in parliament supported by Beijing with the absence of much opposition.

On Wednesday, China’s highest administrative body passed a measure to banish anybody from Hong Kong’s legislative council who wish to supports autonomy, and reject to recognize Beijing’s government over Hong Kong. However, seeking help from foreign nations or forces to meddle in the internal issues of the region or to employ different acts that jeopardize country’s national security, they could face similar consequences. 

Under the new law, the legislators who are deemed to advance or support Hong Kong’s autonomy, or who won’t recognize Beijing’s government, will “quickly lose their qualification,” the new law stated. 

On Monday, the city’s 15 pro-democracy legislators declared that they would also resign stating that the “One Country Two Systems” structure that had intended to provide Hong Kong with more prominent self-rule from the region has ended. 

The administration clampdown comes after the months-long pro-democracy protest, While some Hong Kong activists including former legislators and dissent pioneers have looked for political refuge in different nations, dreading their security under the new bill. 

However, in June, Beijing had announced a new national security law that some have called draconian after the anti-legislature protests shook the city for quite a long time, and it has utilized it to take action against opposition cries. 

Accordingly, the U.S. imposed sanctions on a few authorities, including Lam. A few Western nations have halted their extradition treaty with the region, and Australia and Britain have offered Hong Kongers simpler ways to settle in those nations. 

Beijing has lashed out at these offers and called it gross foreign interference in the Chinese government. Chinese Foreign Ministry representative Wang Wenbin stated on Wednesday that disqualifications were important to keep up rule of law and the constitution in Hong Kong. 

Beijing’s most recent crackdown in Hong Kong has become a source of stress on both sides. Under US President Trump, Washington had revoked the special relationship with Hong Kong, pronouncing it would be dealt with similar to China. The US is thinking of imposing more sanctions on Chinese officials for passing an unjust law and also following the resignation of opposition legislators.

In lieu of China imposing new law in Hong Kong, UK to offer “citizenship route” to HK citizens
Asia Pacific Focus

In lieu of China imposing new law in Hong Kong, UK to offer “citizenship route” to HK citizens

China has been facing criticism over the new law imposing on Hong Kong that would devoid the country of its “independent” status and freedom to “protest”, with HK coming directly under the jurisdiction of China mainland.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson told Times in an interview that UK would offer a route of citizenship to HK residents in case the security law by China is imposed on the country.

UK and other allies like U.S. and Australia are already discussing on the mode of action and change in relations with HK, if China imposes the new law on Hong Kong – in which case the same relations with HK would be unlawful as would be undermining Beijing’s authority.

On Wednesday, UK PM Boris Johnson confirmed that in case of law imposition, the Hong Kong citizens with BNO (British National Overseas) passports would be allowed to enter UK without any visa and allowed to stay up to a year, as against 6 months as per earlier laws. The passport holders would be further allowed to work in UK as an extension to immigration rights.

Approximately 350,000 Hong Kong citizens have a valid BNO passport and more than 2.6 million are eligible for it.

PM Boris Johnson clarified that if need be Britain would take this step for HK citizens willingly and would not “walk away”.

“If China proceeds to justify their fears, then Britain could not in good conscience shrug our shoulders and walk away; instead we will honour our obligations and provide an alternative,” PM Johnson told the Times.

Lord Patten, the last British governor to Hong Kong supported UK’s stand as being “politically and morally right.” He accused China of its continuous “bullying” tactics. He said that it is not against China but the fact that China’s communist regime cannot stand the HK’s policies – that is everything which President Xi Jinping dislikes.

He further said that this is the “era marking beginning of realism with China.”

Hong Kong had been the colony of Britain which was handed over to China in 1997. According to the terms of treaty, Hong Kong enjoys certain freedoms which are devoid in China mainland. These set of freedom policies are set in a mini-constitution known as Basic Law.

BNO passports were granted to HK citizens who were born before handover to China in 1997. These passports allow holders to enjoy many perks and protection from UK foreign policies, they are still not eligible to work or stay for more than 6 months in UK.

The proposed action under immigration and citizenship route by UK for Hong Kong citizens is believed to offer some respite and opportunities for people fearing China law implementation.

Hong Kong Security Law: Britain asks China to “step back”
Geopolitics

Hong Kong Security Law: Britain asks China to “step back”

The British government on 2 June asked China to “step back from the brink” and respect Hong Kong’s autonomy. It also warned that if the former British colony’s autonomy is compromised, the government will offer British National Overseas (BNO) passport holders citizenship to those who are settled in the region.

The statement was made by the British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab in the House of Commons. The House held a physical meeting despite ongoing corona pandemic to highlight that autonomy of its former colony is of great importance.

The leader also added that China should “respect” its international obligations.

China’s proposal to enact stringent security laws for Hong Kong has attracted sharp reactions from the US and UK.

The Foreign Secretary warned that if China proposes to enact such a law, Britain will also look to at its other options as they have a responsibility towards Hong Kong. Secretary Raab added if any legislation impacting the autonomy of Hong Kong is announced, they can initiate change for the BNO passport holders.

When Britain signed the Joint Declaration in 1984 with China, granting BNO status to Hong Kong residents was part of the deal. The Joint Declaration was arrangement entered into with China before Hong Kong’s handover.

Hong Kong residents with a BNO passport can seek UK consular support in third countries. BNO Passport holders can also enter Britain visa-free and stay in the UK for up to six months.

If the proposed security law is enacted, the UK will allow Hong Kong BNO passport holders to stay beyond six months. The minister also added that those passport holders could also explore the option of getting citizenship in Britain.

China’s National People’s Congress on 22 May proposed a new security law for Hong Kong. After six days, the Congress adopted this proposal.

The new legislation, according to the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, will forbid “treason, secession, sedition, and subversion.”

The British minister described the new law would threaten the “One Country Two Systems,” arrangement. This system makes Hong Kong stay autonomous.

Hong Kong residents fear that their freedom will be compromised if this law is implemented.

The Boris Johnson government is talking to the US and Australia to mount pressure on China to reconsider its decision.

US may reconsider joining WHO, but with ‘conditions’: Top US official
Americas

US may reconsider joining WHO, but with ‘conditions’: Top US official

The White House on 31 May said that it might reconsider joining the World Health Organization (WHO).

However, the US government has attached condition to its decision to revise its decision on WHO. The first condition for rejoining is the world health body should limit its reliance on China, and secondly, the organization must put an end to corruption.

Earlier on 29 May, the US President Donald Trump announced the US withdrawal from WHO. Ever since the COVID crisis broke out, the US has accused the WHO of sharing misinformation about the viral disease, in collusion with China.

The novel corona virus has killed more than 300,000 people worldwide. The US National Security Advisor Robert O Brien, in an interview with a news channel, said that WHO must initiate reforms, out an end to corruption, and reduce reliance with China.

Defending Trump’s decision to leave the world health body, O’Brien said that the world organization should have reacted quickly to check the spread of the virus from China.

Following the termination of WHO membership, the US intends to spend the $400 million on other public health organizations with worldwide reach.

O’ Brien said the amount which earlier US used to spend on aid to WHO, will now be given to health workers in Africa through the President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). PEPFAR is a US government initiative to mitigate health concerns such as HIV/AIDS epidemic and help save people affected by such diseases. Similar aid will be provided to international NGOs such as the Red Cross and the Doctors without Borders.

In addition to that, the aid money will also be donated to hospitals engaged in fighting severe diseases.

O’Brien shared how the US government and the US citizens’ tax money is used in Africa to protect people from HIV/ AIDS. According to him, the WHO isn’t saving the lives of African people who have HIV/ AIDS.

The top official from Trump administration accused the communist government of China of controlling WHO.

Speaking on the recent escalation of tensions between the US and China, the advisor spoke about the US policy on Hong Kong. O’Brien said the US would take “proportionate” measures to check China’s growing ambitions about Hong Kong.

China’s Hong Kong law escalates tensions for EU in the world order
Asia Pacific Focus

China’s Hong Kong law escalates tensions for EU in the world order

China’s handling of Hong Kong has raised grave concerns with the European Union governments, implying that it will affect the EU-China relations. Furthermore, the EU is facing potential complications with the United States over Washington’s unprecedented response to the tensions between China and Hong Kong. This dilemma has emerged for the EU amid inevitable efforts of post-pandemic recovery and continuing tussle with the UK on a major foreign policy issue since Brexit.

During a meeting with foreign ministers of the 27 nations of the bloc on Friday, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell called for the need for dialogue over Hong Kong and to discuss with Chinese authorities about the repercussions of the move on some issues of mutual interest. EU’s cautious statement came after strong condemnation from the United States, Britain, Australia, and Canada against Chinese legislation against Hong Kong’s freedom.

Notably, EU’s relations with China have been facing certain strains amid the Coronavirus pandemic and ongoing Sino-US cold war which can pose adverse consequences in the world order.

Responding to China’s move in Hong Kong, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the US will no longer treat Hong Kong as autonomous for trade and economic purposes, which will have drastic impacts on the economy of the city. Earlier, US President Trump also announced to impose sanctions on China over its Hong Kong approach. On the other hand, British foreign secretary Dominic Raab said that the UK will extend visa rights for as many as 300,000 Hong Kong British national (overseas) passport holders if China continues with the repressive laws. Meanwhile, Retaliating to international criticism of its national security law on Hong Kong, China on Friday threatened countermeasures against the UK and the US.

Significantly, the EU has been divided on China amid the ongoing circumstances. While European governments have been ensuring measures to tighten their defence against Chinese investment in Europe, certain leaders of the bloc raising questions against China’s handling of the Coronavirus pandemic. Even though world governments have been critical of China’s security law, the European Union has maintained a diplomatic stand. At the same time, the bloc is making efforts to steer clear from the US-China spat.

China’s National People’s Congress on May 28 approved a resolution to impose controversial national security laws on Hong Kong which would ban any activities that would endanger China’s national security, secession, and subversion of state power in the city. Critics have been calling China’s move as a big blow to Hong Kong’s autonomy and freedom that has been enshrined in the territory’s laws since 1997.

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