The United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand on Sunday urged Hong Kong to hold elections as soon as possible in a joint statement, warning authorities about measures to “undermine the democratic process”.
His statement was made at a time when Chinese lawmakers met to decide the next steps after the Hong Kong Legislative Council elections scheduled for September 6 were postponed for a year due to the coronavirus.
The chancellors of the five countries said they were “seriously concerned about the unfair disqualification of candidates by the Hong Kong government and the disproportionate postponement of elections to the Legislative Council”.
“These measures have undermined the democratic process that has been critical to Hong Kong’s stability and prosperity.” They urged “the Hong Kong government to hold the elections as soon as possible”.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said it would be pragmatic to extend the mandate of the current legislature. But there is a question mark about what to do with four opposition lawmakers who have been banned from seeking re-election.
The four pro-democracy lawmakers were disqualified for violating a new national security law by calling for international sanctions against Beijing and Hong Kong. In their statement, the five foreign ministers They asked that disqualified lawmakers be reinstated.
In addition, the five countries (which share intelligence information under the “Cinco Ojos” association) they noted that the security law was “eroding the fundamental rights and freedoms of the people of Hong Kong”.
“We support the legitimate expectations of the Hong Kong people to elect representatives to the Legislative Council through genuinely free, fair and reliable elections,” they added.
As early as Friday, the United States imposed sanctions on a group of Chinese and Hong Kong officials, including the city’s leader, Lam, who was involved in enforcing the controversial security law.
(With information from AFP)
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