A US congressional panel on China has criticized last Sunday’s chief executive election as “yet another example of a precipitous erosion in Hong Kong’s long-cherished autonomy”.
In a statement, Sen. Marco Rubio, chairman of the Chairs of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), said the election of Carrie Lam as chief executive showed Hong Kong’s legitimate demands for universal suffrage and true representative government “remain unfulfilled.”
Lam’s election makes it “exceedingly difficult” to deal with the constant erosions of Hong Kong’s autonomy and rule of law, said Rep. Christopher Smith, chairman of the committee.
“It is in everyone’s interests that Hong Kong remain a free and prosperous bridge between China and the West, but the city’s unique vitality and prosperity are rooted in its guaranteed freedoms,” Smith said.
A CECC analysis found that Chinese central government officials sought to determine the outcome of the already highly restricted CE election by pressuring Election Committee members to vote for Carrie Lam.
It said National People’s Congress Standing Committee chairman Zhang Dejiang asserted the central government’s “right to step in” to the CE elections.
The election itself was limited to 1,194 voters, denying Hong Kong residents a meaningful voice in their government.
CECC said such actions are inconsistent with Hong Kong’s Basic Law and Hong Kong’s obligations under international law.
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