Ninety politicians and organisations from across the world have issued a joint statement condemning Beijing’s passing of a national security law for Hong Kong. They called on countries to impose Magnitsky-style sanctions against Chinese and Hong Kong officials complicit in the passing of the new legislation, and urged the implementation of “lifeboat” schemes for Hongkongers who may now face political persecution.

File photo: Jimmy Lam/United Social Press

Signatories include 25 Hong Kong district councillors and over 30 human right groups from 13 countries, including Canada, USA, Japan and Australia.

The statement in full:

The undersigned jointly condemn the unilateral decision of the Chinese National People’s Congress in introducing national security legislation on Hong Kong. This is the latest of a series of escalating violations of China’s international obligations on Hong Kong, and we call on the international community to stand with Hong Kong, to defend the city’s fundamental freedoms, human rights, rule of law, and autonomy.

The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress discussed the national security legislation for Hong Kong, without any scrutiny by the local legislature and in contravention of Hong Kong’s constitution. The legislation fails to clearly define criminal offences that it purports to regulate, and reinforces grave concerns that it will not conform with nor be subjected to Hong Kong’s Basic Law, the Hong Kong Bill of Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

File photo: Anti-extradition bill protests in 2019 via antinsl.org

Beijing’s imposition of a national security law on Hong Kong has effectively transformed Hong Kong’s “One Country, Two Systems” framework into “One Country, One System”. It follows China’s incessant erosion of the freedoms and rights guaranteed to the people of Hong Kong since the 1997 transfer of sovereignty. China’s flagrant breach of its international obligations, particularly those under the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration, has severely damaged trust in its willingness to be a responsible global actor under the rules-based international order.

We urge the international community to adopt a proactive and strategic rethink towards an increasingly aggressive China. Relations with China should be guided by the universal values of freedoms, human rights, and the rule of law. The destruction of Hong Kong’s autonomy must be addressed urgently alongside other atrocities such as the mass internment of Uyghurs. China must not be allowed to crack down on dissent and deflect international criticism on its treatment of Hong Kong, by definition an international issue, under the thinly veiled pretext of ‘national security’ concerns nor by calling it internal affairs and presuming that they are immune from international scrutiny.

Photo: Studio Incendo.

We stress that China’s continued violations and infringements on universal freedoms, human rights, and rule of law in Hong Kong are incompatible with the rules-based international order as formulated by the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 1966 ICCPR. If international agreements were to command respect and compliance, any breaches thereof must not go unsanctioned.

As a principled and coordinated response to the erosion of Hong Kong’s autonomy and freedoms, we call on countries to introduce Magnitsky-style targeted sanctions against Chinese and Hong Kong officials, individuals, and organisations who are complicit in human rights abuses, erosion of freedom, and undermining of the rule of law in Hong Kong. Sanctions should include entry restrictions such as persona non grata designations, assets freezes, and restrictions on third parties from dealing with or acting for such persons.

Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague, Netherlands. Photo: Wikicommons.

We also urge countries to utilize existing international mechanisms to keep China’s actions in check, such as filing a case before the International Court of Justice on the basis that China’s repeated violations of the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the ICCPR, and asking the UN to appoint a Special Envoy and/or Special Rapporteur on the situation of Hong Kong.

Apart from these formal options, countries should consider sending their own independent monitors to Hong Kong in the coming months to observe and report on any violations of rights and freedoms, such as the use of national security law to persecute political dissidents, as well as any interference in the exercise of democratic rights in the upcoming Legislative Council elections scheduled for September 2020.

The BN(O) passport. A distinctive feature is that it does not have “European Union” on top. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Lastly, we champion a coordinated creation of “lifeboat” schemes by democratic states, such as the expansion of BNO rights by the United Kingdom, so as to offer a path to safety, as a last resort, for Hongkongers facing political persecution and to support their brave efforts in resisting the repression of their fundamental freedoms.

Beyond Hong Kong, China has been using its economic weight to undermine global democracy by controlling access to its capital and markets to its own ends. Businesses such as HSBC and Standard Chartered have been coerced into parroting its nationalistic rhetorics and defending its repression of Hong Kong’s autonomy and freedoms.

In response to China’s abuse of its economic power, countries around the world should work together to leverage their collective economic positions and challenge its crackdown on human rights and market manipulations. Trade deals must be struck with the autonomy of Hong Kong and freedoms of its people in mind, by including a human rights clause in any future trade agreement with China, and any existing agreements should be revised to the same effect.

Never forget June 4. Anti-Communist Party. We shared the freedom. Photo: Studio Incendo.

Liberal democracies should also incentivise and support companies to relocate production lines and bases of operations to other democratic countries to reduce the economic dependency on China. They should work with the aim of decoupling from Chinese influence economically and re-examine the involvement of Chinese capital in strategic sectors.

International unity with a paradigm shift of strategy on China is essential for maintaining the rules-based international order and upholding the universal values of freedoms, human rights and the rule of law. Only through a holistic set of principled and concrete responses by liberal democracies shall we deter further transgressions by the Chinese authoritarian regime.

Signatories

Hong Kong

Councillors

Chan Kim Kam Cllr / Member of Tsuen Wan District Council

Chan Wai Lit Cllr / Member of Sai Kung District Council

Cheung Ho Sum Cllr / Member of Tuen Mun District Council

Cheung Man Lung Cllr / Vice-chairman of Kwai Tsing District Council

Cheung Wai Chiu Cllr / Member of Sai Kung District Council

Chiu Chu Pong Cllr / Member of Sha Tin District Council

Choi Nga Man Cllr / Member of Kwai Tsing District Council

Kwok Tsz Kin Cllr / Member of Kwai Tsing District Council

Lam Sek Tim Cllr / Member of Tsuen Wan District Council

Lee Hin Long Timothy Cllr / Member of Kowloon City District Council

Lee Ka Wai Cllr / Member of Tuen Mun District Council

Leung Fong Wai Fergus Cllr / Member of Central and Western District Council

Leung Kwok Ho Cllr / Member of Island District Council

Li Chi Wang Cllr / Member of Sha Tin District Council

Li Chung Chi Cllr / Member of Tuen Mun District Council

Pang Ka Ho Jordan Cllr / Member of Central and Western District Council

Poon Chi Kin Cllr / Member of Tuen Mun District Council

Tsang Chun Hing Cllr / Member of Tuen Mun District Council

Tsang Kam Wing Cllr / Member of Tuen Mun District Council

Tse Man Chak Cllr / Member of Tsuen Wan District Council

Wong Hok Lai Cllr / Vice-chairman of Sha Tin District Council

Wong Pak Yu Cllr / Member of Yuen Long District Council

Wong Tan Ching Cllr / Vice-chairman of Tuen Mun District Council

Wong Tak Yuen Cllr / Member of Tuen Mun District Council

Yip Kam Lung Sam Cllr / Member of Central and Western District Council

Organisations

antielabhk

Canada

Politicians

James Bezan MP / Member of House of Commons

Kenny Chiu MP / Member of House of Commons

Garnett Genuis MP / Member of House of Commons

Jasraj Singh Hallan MP / Member of House of Commons

Rachael Harder MP / Member of House of Commons

Sen. Leo Housakos / Member of Senate

Eric Melillo MP / Member of House of Commons

Rob Morrison MP / Member of House of Commons

Pierre Paul-Hus MP / Member of House of Commons

Warren Steinley MP / Member of House of Commons

David Sweet MP / Member of House of Commons

Bob Zimmer MP / Member of House of Commons

David Kilgour / former Secretary of State for Asia-Pacific, former Member of House of Commons

Organisations

Action Free Hong Kong Montréal

Alliance Canada Hong Kong

Canada-Hong Kong Link

Friends of Hong Hong Calgary

Friends of Hong Kong Edmonton

Halifax Hong Kong Link

McMaster Stands With HK

New Hong Kong Cultural Club

Ottawa Post-Secondary Institutions’ Hong Kong Awareness Group

Ottawans Stand with Hong Kong

Toronto Association for Democracy in China

Torontonian HongKongers Action Group

Torontonians Stand With Hong Kong

Vancouver HK Action Group

Vancouver Hong Kong Political Activists

Vancouver Society in Support of Democratic Movement

Vancouverites Concerned About Hong Kong

York University Hong Kong Politics Awareness Group

United States

Hong Kong Forum, Los Angeles

New Yorkers supporting Hong Kong

Northern California Hong Kong Club

Seattle Hong Kong Students Alliance (SEAhksa)

Europe

European Bar Human Rights Institute (IDHAE)

France

Le Comité pour la Liberté à Hong-Kong

Germany

Frankfurt stands with Hong Kong

Germany Stands with Hong Kong

Hongkonger in Deutschland e.V.

Munich – Stand with Hong Kong

Tibet Initiatives Deutschland

Verein der Tibeter Deutschland

The Netherlands

Netherlands for Hong Kong

Norway

Hong Kong Committee in Norway

Norwegian Taiwanese Friendship Association

Norwegian Uyghur Committee

The Norwegian Tibet Committee

Poland

PL4HK – Supporting Hong Kong from Poland

Sweden

Stöd Hongkongs demokrati!

India

Free HongKong – Support from India

Japan

Politicians

Sen. Kenzo Fujisue / Member of House of Councillors

Rep. Akihisa Nagashima / Member of House of Representatives

Rep. Gen Nakatani / Member of House of Representatives

Rep. Shiori Yamao / Member of House of Representatives

Organisations

Stand with HK@JPN

The Philippines

Filipinos Stand With Hong Kong

Thailand

Thailand Supports Hong Kong

Australia

Adelaide – Stand with Hong Kong

Australia-Hong Kong Link

Canberra Hong Kong Concern Group

NSW HongKongers

Perth-HK Students’ Anti-ELAB Concern Group

Victoria Hongkongers Association

Latest

Guest Contributor

Guest contributors for Hong Kong Free Press.