Five Eyes Alliance Urges China to Keep Hong Kong Commitments

Elias Hubbard
November 20, 2020

The UK, US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand have accused China of a concerted campaign to silence critical voices in Hong Kong in breach of its worldwide obligations.

"For the sake of Hong Kong's stability and prosperity, it is essential that China and the Hong Kong authorities respect the channels for the people of Hong Kong to express their legitimate concerns and opinions."The group called on China's central government "to re-consider their actions against Hong Kong's elected legislature and immediately reinstate the Legislative Council members".

They urged Beijing to reverse course.

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman warned countries to stay out of China's affairs saying: "They should be careful or their eyes will be plucked out".

"The Chinese never make trouble and are never afraid of anything", Zhao, speaking from Beijing, adding, "[It does not] matter if they had five or 10 eyes."

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian on Thursday issued a stern warning to the Five Eyes intelligence group - an global intelligence-sharing bloc consisting of Australia, the UK, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States - after it condemned Beijing's move to disqualify four opposition leaders in the Hong Kong Legislative Council (LegCo).

In response, all of Hong Kong's pro-democracy lawmakers announced their resignation. For the first time since the United Kingdom handed the territory back to China in 1997, the body has nearly no dissenting voices.

Beijing expelled four pro-democracy lawmakers from the former British colony's parliament last week.

China denies curbing rights and freedoms in the global financial hub but authorities in Hong Kong and Beijing have moved swiftly to stifle dissent after anti-government protests flared in June previous year and plunged the city into crisis.

Five Eyes is an intelligence-sharing alliance of the five Anglophone countries set up during the Cold War and initially developed to monitor the USSR and its allies.

Earlier, China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hong Kong said any attempt by foreign states to threaten or pressure Beijing to make concessions was "doomed to fail". Earlier in the year, China imposed a national security law on Hong Kong, which was condemned as limiting the democratic rights and compromising the "one country, two systems" arrangement.

That freedom has largely vanished in recent months with the passage of a "national security" law in Beijing's National People's Congress allowing Chinese authorities to prosecute Hong Kong dissidents and extradite them to China. It criminalises "secession, subversion and collusion with foreign forces".

New Zealand has routinely joined statements criticising China's actions in Hong Kong and Xinjiang, where it is alleged at least a million Uighur Muslims are held in "re-education" camps.

"The disqualification rules appear part of a concerted campaign to silence all critical voices following the postponement of September's Legislative Council elections, the imposition of charges against a number of elected legislators, and actions to undermine the freedom of Hong Kong's vibrant media", the statement read.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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