Given the Chinese plans for a controversial security law for Hong Kong, the United Nations Security Council is giving advice today. The issue will be discussed in an informal video conference, according to diplomatic circles in New York. It is a format in which any member of the Council can put topics on the agenda without China being able to prevent it.
Beijing previously thwarted a formal Security Council meeting on the same subject. The National People’s Congress in Beijing yesterday approved the introduction of a security law for Hong Kong, which critics believe will severely curtail civil rights in the Special Administrative Region.
Joint protest by several states
The United States, Britain, Australia and Canada all protested against China’s plans. Such a law would curtail the freedoms of people in the former British crown colony, the Foreign Minister said in a joint statement.
„Hong Kong’s autonomy and the system that has brought so much prosperity would be dramatically eroded.“
China’s decision is „in direct conflict“ with the country’s international obligations, the joint statement said. The law undermines the framework of the principle „one country, two systems“. There is a risk of exacerbating the tensions that already exist.
Law bypasses Hong Kong’s parliament
In the Chinese special administrative region there have been protests against the influence from Beijing for months. The law bypasses Hong Kong’s parliament. It targets activities that are considered subversive or separatist.
Germany has also called on China to uphold freedom of expression and assembly in Hong Kong. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said in Berlin today that the security law approved by the People’s Congress should not question the principle of “one country, two systems”.
„Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy must not be undermined.“ He expects the freedoms and rights of the people living there to be safeguarded.