Major EU Parliament report condemns Chinese interference in Hong Kong’s internal affairs

The European Parliament published a report on 13 December 2017 condemning Chinese interference in Hong Kong’s internal affairs and expressing Europe’s commitment to strengthen democracy, rule of law and human rights in Hong Kong.

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The European Parliament recommended that the Council should ‘condemn the constant interference of the PRC in Hong Kong’s internal affairs, which may put at risk the long-term viability of the ‘one country, two systems’ model’.

Elaborating on this further, the European Parliament said that the Council should:

“stress with the authorities of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the PRC that …the ‘one country, two systems’ principle is of key importance for the development and further strengthening and expanding of present and future relations with the EU, and that intervening in Hong Kong's internal affairs has the potential to undermine that principle and should therefore be avoided.”

The report affirmed that: “the people of Hong Kong have a legitimate right to expect to continue enjoying their way of life and these rights and values under a high degree of autonomy.”

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In order to protect these, it recommended that European Union should take part in “bilateral dialogue with the Government of the Hong Kong SAR, not least through the annual EU-Hong Kong Structured Dialogue, on a wide range of topics and policy areas, such as democracy, human rights, the rule of law, trade, investment, financial services, customs, the environment, climate change, research and education, to support the implementation of the ‘one country, two systems’ principle.”

The report raised numerous issues of concern. These included:

  • concerns that the autonomy of Hong Kong is under threat; 
  • concerns about threats to the personal safety of pro-democracy politicians; 
  • concerns about the National People’s Congress Standing Committee issuing interpretations of the Basic Law prior to court rulings; 
  • the mishandling of the case of the five missing booksellers; 
  • and a deterioration of press freedom.

The report emphasised that all future legislation, including the enactment of Article 23, must not interfere with judicial independence or the enjoyment of human rights.

Chairman of Trustees at Hong Kong Watch, Benedict Rogers, said: ‘I am pleased to read this important affirmation by the European Parliament of the importance of the autonomy of Hong Kong. The European Union and the wider International Community must continue to protect ‘one country’, ‘two systems’ in Hong Kong and to speak out when human rights and freedoms in Hong Kong are undermined. This report provides important policy recommendations to the European Council, and I hope that the Council responds by taking action to protect Hong Kong’s autonomy.’