G7 expresses 'grave concerns' over electoral changes in Hong Kong

G7 Foreign Ministers, including the United States, expressed “serious concern” about China’s decision to fundamentally undermine democratic elements of the Hong Kong electoral system.

The G7 released a statement that was tweeted by British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab, The recent decision to change the electoral system in Hong Kong showed that the authorities in China were determined to eliminate dissenting voices and opinions in Hong Kong.

“We also call on China and the Hong Kong authorities to restore confidence in Hong Kong’s political institutions and end the unjustified repression of those who promote democratic values ​​and the defense of rights and freedoms,” it said.

China’s Political Congress on Thursday approved a draft decision to change Hong Kong’s electoral system to further reduce democratic representation in the city’s institutions and introduce a mechanism to check politicians’ loyalty to Beijing.

The measures are part of Beijing’s efforts to cement its increasingly authoritarian hold in the Asian financial center following the introduction of a national security law in June 2020, seen by critics as a tool for suppressing disagreements.

The European Commission and the High Representative found in an annual report on Friday that there had been “alarming political deterioration” in Hong Kong, citing the introduction of the national security law, the arrest of dozens of pro-democracy activists in January and Beijing’s step in this week to revise the city’s policy.

“China is deliberately dismantling the” one country, two systems “principle, which violates its international obligations and the Hong Kong constitution,” said E.U. High Representative Josep Borrell said.

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Separately, Australia and New Zealand expressed deep concern and urged Hong Kong and China to open “real avenues” for the city’s people to participate in their governance and protect the role of the Legislative Council.

In a statement in Hong Kong late Friday, the government said it strongly opposed the European Union’s statements and that the report’s questioning of China’s willingness to uphold the “one country, two systems” principle was a “baseless accusation”.

The Hong Kong government said the stability of society had been restored since the implementation of the national security law.

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