Communist China could face fresh US sanctions over ousting of Hong Kong lawmakers

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Hong Kong democracy is officially dead in legal terms today as the dictators in Beijing raised its iron fist to oust four pro-democracy legislators from defending the basic rights of its citizens.

The decision adopted by China’s top legislature Wednesday on the qualification of local lawmakers in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) has clarified the legal basis for “patriots governing Hong Kong,” according to Xinhua.

The CCP-run media told that the four disqualified lawmakers — Alvin Yeung, Dennis Kwok, Kwok Ka-ki and Kenneth Leung — colluded with foreign forces, sided against Hong Kong and the motherland, and severely violated the ethical rules they should observe as lawmakers and the moral obligations they should heed as Chinese people.

“We could not allow members of a Legislative Council, who have been judged in accordance with the law that they could not fulfil the requirement and the prerequisite for serving on the Legislative Council, to continue to operate,” Chief Executive Carrie Lam said at a press conference.

The move has prompted a declaration of mass resignation by the pro-democracy caucus of 15 lawmakers on the same day.

“Today we will resign from our positions, because our partners, our colleagues have been disqualified by the central government’s ruthless move,” Wu Chi-wai, convener of the pro-democracy camp, said at the news conference.

“Although we are facing a lot of difficulties in the coming future for the fight of democracy, but we will never, ever give up,” he said.

Australia’s Foreign Minister has issued a sharply worded statement criticising China’s Government over its latest crackdown on Hong Kong, according to ABC.

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said the disqualification of the politicians “seriously undermines Hong Kong’s democratic processes and institutions, as well as the high degree of autonomy set out in the Basic Law and Sino-British Joint Declaration”.

On Wednesday, UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab went further and said it was the third time China had breached the Sino-British joint declaration which guarantees Hong Kong the right to freedom of speech and a “high degree of autonomy.”

“China has once again broken its promises and undermined Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy,” Raab said. “The UK will stand up for the people of Hong Kong, and call out violations of their rights and freedoms.”

The US national security advisor, Robert O’Brien, accused China of having “flagrantly violated” its international commitments, and threatened further sanctions on “those responsible for extinguishing Hong Kong’s freedom”.

Following is a statement from the National Security Advisor issued at the White House:

Beijing’s recent actions disqualifying pro-democracy legislators from Hong Kong’s Legislative Council leave no doubt that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has flagrantly violated its international commitments under the Sino-British Joint Declaration and its promises to the people of Hong Kong, including those under the Basic Law.  “One Country, Two Systems” is now merely a fig leaf covering for the CCP’s expanding one party dictatorship in Hong Kong.  The United States will continue to utilize all the powers granted under the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, the Hong Kong Autonomy Act, and the Executive Order on Hong Kong Normalization to identify and sanction those responsible for extinguishing Hong Kong’s freedom.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also issued a press statement condemning the onslaught by Beijing as follows:

Beijing’s onslaught against Hong Kong’s freedoms and liberties continues. The United States strongly condemns the “patriotism” resolution passed by the National People’s Congress Standing Committee on November 11, which disqualified four members of Hong Kong’s Legislative Council for exercising their mandates as lawmakers. This resolution tramples on the rights of the people of Hong Kong to choose their elected representatives as guaranteed by the Basic Law and further exposes Beijing’s blatant disregard for its international commitments under the Sino-British Joint Declaration, a U.N.-registered treaty. Beijing has eliminated nearly all of Hong Kong’s promised autonomy, as it neuters democratic processes and legal traditions that have been the bedrock of Hong Kong’s stability and prosperity. Once again, the CCP’s twisted vision of patriotism is a pretext to stifle freedom and the call for democracy. 

The United States will continue to work with our allies and partners around the world to champion the rights and freedoms of the people of Hong Kong and call out Beijing’s abject failure to honor its commitments. We will hold accountable the people responsible for these actions and policies that erode Hong Kong’s autonomy and freedoms. We stand with the disqualified pan-Democratic lawmakers, the pro-democracy lawmakers who resigned in protest, and the people of Hong Kong. 

By Winnie Troppie

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