The European Parliament on Thursday urged the Hong Kong government to officially withdraw the controversial extradition bill, saying the proposed law had caused fear among the people of the city.
The call came after the legislative branch of the European Union voted to adopt a motion on Hong Kong, the first of its kind since the city’s handover to China in 1997, the Hong Kong economic Journal reports.
In the resolution, the EU Parliament also urged Hong Kong authorities to ”immediately release and drop all charges against the peaceful protesters and all those detained for the peaceful exercise of their freedom of expression during or in the lead-up to protests”.
Moreover, it called for the establishment of “an independent, impartial, effective and prompt investigation into the use of force by Hong Kong police against protesters.”
Hong Kong must ensure that its law “remains fully in line with its international human rights obligations, including provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and of the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment,” according to the resolution tabled by 85 EU lawmakers.
Apart from that, Hong Kong must study the feasibility of implementing genuine universal suffrage, the lawmakers said.
The resolution, meanwhile, suggested that “the EU, its member states and the international community to work towards the imposition of appropriate export control mechanisms to deny China, and in particular Hong Kong, access to technologies used to violate basic rights”.
The parliament “strongly condemns the constant and increasing interference by China in Hong Kong’s internal affairs, as well the recent assertion by China that the Sino-British Joint Declaration of 1984 is a historic document, and hence is no longer valid,” it said.
It also stresses the Chinese government “is bound by the Joint Declaration to uphold Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy and its rights and freedoms”.
Speaking in a regular press conference on Thursday in response to the EU resolution, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said Hong Kong affairs are an internal matter of China.
China firmly opposes and deplores any acts of a foreign country or organization, including the European Parliament, that constitutes interference in Hong Kong affairs, the spokesman said.
“We value our relations with the EU, but it takes concerted efforts from both sides to maintain a good relationship. We hope the EU will fulfill its commitment to China-EU relations and meet China halfway to ensure the sound and steady development of China-EU relations,” he said.
In a speech delivered at a think-tank in London on Wednesday, Theresa May, the outgoing British prime minister, insisted that the Sino-British Joint Declaration is still “in force” and that it must be “respected”.
Britain’s next leader should not only focus on business relationship with China but must also continue to watch the situation in Hong Kong closely, May said.
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