Foreign Ministers of the Group of Seven (G7) member countries on Wednesday issued a joint statement strongly urging China to reconsider its decision to impose national security legislation on Hong Kong, saying that it would “seriously” undermine the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ principle.
“The proposed national security law would risk seriously undermining the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ principle and the territory’s high degree of autonomy. It would jeopardize the system which has allowed Hong Kong to flourish and made it a success over many years,” the foreign ministers of United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the EU’s High Representative said in the statement.
The group said it was writing to underscore their “grave concern” regarding China’s decision, which it said was “not in conformity” with the Hong Kong Basic Law and its international commitments under the principles of the legally binding, UN-registered Sino-British Joint Declaration.
The legislation has sparked fears that it would eventually leading to erosion of Hong Kong’s autonomy as stated under the Sino-British joint declaration of 1997.
The Sino-British joint declaration on the question of Hong Kong was signed in Beijing on December 19, 1984, by the Prime Ministers of China and Britain, Zhao Ziyang and Margaret Thatcher. The two governments agreed that China would reassume control of Hong Kong from July 1, 1997.
It further suggested an open debate and consultation with stakeholders to ensure respect for protected rights and freedoms in Hong Kong.
“We are also extremely concerned that this action would curtail and threaten the fundamental rights and freedoms of all the population protected by the rule of law and the existence of an independent justice system,” the foreign ministers said.
“We strongly urge the Government of China to reconsider this decision,” the leaders stressed in the statement.
Beijing has signalled that the new national security law, which has triggered a fresh wave of protests in Hong Kong, needs to be passed quickly following a year of pro-democracy protests.
Since last year, the city has been grappling with protests against China. The demonstrations were triggered by extradition law. Fresh protests began after China’s parliament passed last month the proposal to impose a new national security law in Hong Kong.