European leaders called the imposition of the new security law from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in Hong Kong a “deplorable decision,” noting that it only leads to an accelerated reassessment of relations with the CCP as a reliable economic partner.
EU Council President Charles Michel announced that it was a regrettable decision, while Ursula von der Leyen, head of the European Commission, said that for the time being the bloc was in talks with international partners on any possible measures in response to the CCP.
“The EU expresses its serious concern about the measures taken by China [the CCP] on 28 May, which are not in accordance with its international commitments,” said EU High Representative for Foreign Policy Josep Borrell.
“EU relations with China [the CCP] are based on mutual respect and trust. This decision further calls into question China’s [the CCP’s] will to uphold its international commitments,” added Borrell, as reported by Euractiv.
The controversial law that came into force Tuesday in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region aims to ban any anti-government movement, condemning secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with foreign forces.
According to experts on the subject, the approval of the security law by the National People’s Congress considerably damages civil rights in the semi-autonomous territory, directly affecting the pro-democracy protests that have taken place since last year.
Joshua Rosenzweig, head of Amnesty International’s China team, said in a statement, “From now on, China [the CCP] will have the power to impose its own laws on any criminal suspect it chooses.”
“China’s [the CCP’s] eagerness to pass this law quickly is also an ominous signal for the legislative elections coming up in Hong Kong in September, with a threat that the security law could be used against pro-democracy candidates,” he added, according to Euronews.
Lord Patten, who was the last British governor in Hong Kong, said, “This decision, which rides roughshod over Hong Kong’s elected Legislature, marks the end of ‘one country, two systems.’ It is a flagrant breach of the Sino-British joint declaration—a treaty lodged at the United Nations—and Hong Kong’s mini constitution, the Basic Law.”
“It will throttle the city’s rule of law, presenting a major confrontation between what passes for law in China and the common law system in Hong Kong, which has allowed the city to function as one of most important financial hubs in Asia. The separation of powers is in danger of being shattered and the courts politicized by the provision that the chief executive will herself choose the judges for national security cases” Patten said.
Tam Yiu-Chung, Hong Kong’s sole representative on the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, only detailed at a press conference on Tuesday that the punishments would not include the death penalty.
As the Guardian points out, several countries are now in the middle of a tense relationship with China [the CCP]. Australia is undergoing a growing security and trade dispute, and recently announced that it expects to implement an increase in cybersecurity worth US$938.17 million ($Au1.35 billion), including the recruitment of 500 cyberspies.
France is seeking closer relations with India, a country currently engaged in an intense armed conflict on the border of Ladakh, which on Monday announced that it would ban more than 50 Chinese applications, including Bytedance’s TikTok and Tencent’s WeChat.