Date
11 December 2017
The electoral framework that prompted Hongkongers to take to the streets has been criticized by a US  commission appointed by Congress. Photo: AFP
The electoral framework that prompted Hongkongers to take to the streets has been criticized by a US commission appointed by Congress. Photo: AFP

2017 election plan conflicts with Basic Law, says US panel

A US congressional advisory committee has criticized Beijing’s framework for Hong Kong’s election for chief executive in 2017, Reuters reported Friday.

During the two months protesters have occupied streets in the city against the electoral arrangements laid down by the central government, the United States has said it supports universal suffrage in Hong Kong in accordance with local law.

Thursday’s report to Congress by the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission went further.

It said the framework “effectively excludes democratic candidates from nomination and allows Beijing to control the outcome. This proposal conflicts with standards set forth in Hong Kong’s Basic Law and the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, and runs counter to international commitments made by China in the 1984 Sino-UK Joint Declaration to preserve Hong Kong’s ‘high degree of autonomy’ and way of life for 50 years following its 1997 handover”.

The report also said the mainland’s growing military presence in the city serves to “intimidate pro-democracy activists” and that recent violence against journalists and pressure on advertisers “appears to be targeted at outspoken pro-democracy media”.

In Beijing, the Foreign Ministry reiterated that foreign countries should not “interfere” with Hong Kong politics. The Hong Kong government issued a scathing reply, calling the report “biased”, “unfounded” and “misleading”.

Though it has stopped short of naming any countries, China has repeatedly accused “foreign forces” of fomenting unrest in Hong Kong.

The commission was created by the US Congress in 2000 to monitor, investigate, and submit to Congress an annual report on the national security implications of the bilateral trade and economic relationship between the two countries.

It also has a mandate to provide recommendations, where appropriate, to Congress for legislative and administrative action.

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