Hong Kong: UK and US criticise erosion of rights and freedoms 25 years since handover | Hong Kong

UK and US leaders have criticised China’s erosion of freedoms and rights in Hong Kong, because the territory marks 25 years since its handover from Britain.

After Xi Jinping started his first seek advice from to town since 2017, British high minister Boris Johnson and US secretary of state Antony Blinken mentioned Beijing had didn’t appreciate the “one country, two systems” association agreed underneath the deal that ended British colonial rule in 1997.

Vowing to not “give up” on Hong Kong, Johnson mentioned: “It’s a state of affairs that threatens both the rights and freedoms of Hongkongers and the continued progress and prosperity of their home.”

Blinken mentioned Friday was once meant to be the midway mark of fifty years of promised autonomy underneath one nation, two programs, “yet it is now evident that Hong Kong and Beijing authorities no longer view democratic participation, fundamental freedoms, and an independent media as part of this vision.”

“Authorities have jailed the opposition … raided independent media organisations … weakened democratic institutions, delayed elections,” Blinken mentioned. “They have done all of this in an effort to deprive Hongkongers of what they have been promised.”

Saying a strict safety regulation imposed in Hong Kong via Beijing in 2020 had ended in an “erosion of autonomy,” he mentioned: “We stand in solidarity with people in Hong Kong and reinforce their calls for their promised freedoms to be reinstated.”

On Thursday, Xi informed crowds in Hong Kong – all the way through a extremely choreographed seek advice from the place alternatives for dissent had been stifled and media protection closely limited – that the area had “risen from the ashes”.

“My heart and that of the central government have been with our compatriots in Hong Kong,” he mentioned, in step with a translation via the South China Morning Post. “In the past few years, Hong Kong has gone through various severe challenges one after another, and has defeated them.

“After the wind and rain, Hong Kong has risen from the ashes, and showed strong vibrancy.

“As long as we stick to the ‘one country, two systems’ framework, Hong Kong will certainly have a brighter future and will make new and bigger contributions to the great rejuvenation of the Chinese people,” he mentioned.

On Friday, Xi will swear within the subsequent leader govt of the territory, John Lee, a former safety head who oversaw the crackdown on Hong Kong’s pro-democracy motion.

The day started with a flag elevating rite on the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. The temporary rite lasted about 20 mins and happened amid a storm caution. While Hong Kong activists have rallied out of doors the flag elevating rite prior to now, they have been warned via nationwide safety police to not protest this yr.

Xi didn’t attend the flag-raising tournament, with media reporting he stayed in a single day around the border in Shenzhen after arriving in Hong Kong on Thursday. He is due again within the monetary hub early on Friday for the swearing in.

A lady pushing a toddler cart walks previous police take a look at level out of doors the West Kowloon High Speed Rail Station forward of President Xi Jinping’s arrival Photograph: Anthony Kwan/Getty Images

Lee has pledged to unite town for “a new chapter”, whilst additionally promising a good extra competitive way to counter “fearmongering and badmouthing” via critics.

Johnson mentioned he would search to proceed to carry China to its commitments, in order that Hong Kong is “once again run by the people of Hong Kong, for the people of Hong Kong”. He mentioned Britain’s immigration course for holders of British nationwide (in another country) passports remaining yr had attracted 120,000 packages.

British overseas secretary Liz Truss echoed Johnson’s feedback, and mentioned: “Authorities have stifled opposition, criminalised dissent and driven out anyone who can speak truth to power.

“The United Kingdom’s historic commitment to Hong Kong and its people endures. That is why we continue to challenge China for breaching the legally binding commitments it signed up to under the Joint Declaration.

“We have called out their conduct on the world stage and stood together with our G7 partners in condemning the steady erosion of political and civil rights and Hong Kong’s autonomy.”

Australia additionally criticised China for curtailing the rights and freedoms of folks in Hong Kong.

“Australia remains deeply concerned by the continuing erosion of Hong Kong’s rights, freedoms and autonomy, two years since the imposition of the National Security Law,” overseas minister Penny Wong mentioned.

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