Washington leads in condemnation of Hong Kong law

The United Kingdom, Australia and Canada are also part of it. For these, the measure is contrary to the international commitments made by the Chinese government. USA and Great Britain threaten retaliation. European Union: Basic Law violated.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews / Agencies) - An international front led by the United States has roundly condemned Beijing’s security law for Hong Kong. In a joint statement, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada invite China to review its decision, which they say is contrary to the international commitments made by the Chinese government.

The reference is to the Sino-British agreement of 1984, which regulated the passage of Hong Kong from the sovereignty of London to that of Beijing in 1997, and ensures the city a high degree of autonomy from the motherland until 2047.

The new measure was approved yesterday by the National People's Congress, the Chinese parliament. It punishes "acts" and "activities" that seriously endanger national security. Hong Kong residents may be arrested for subversion, secession, terrorism and collaboration with foreign forces interfering in the affairs of the city.

The United States is considering whether to cancel commercial preferences granted to Hong Kong, such as financial and entry visa preferences. Washington also threatens to impose sanctions and new duties on Beijing. London will ensure citizenship of Hong Kong citizens who hold a British passport.

The European Union also said it was concerned about Beijing's move. Josep Borrell, head of European diplomacy, yesterday told the United Nations that the new law does not comply with the international agreements signed by the Chinese or with the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s mini-Constitution.

So far Taiwan is the only Asian country to have clearly condemned the measure. Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen announced yesterday that her executive will develop a mechanism to offer humanitarian assistance to Hong Kong citizens who intend to seek asylum on the island this week.