UK and allies issue joint statement condemning China for breaching international agreements

Five Eyes Intelligence partnership calls on China to reverse its action and ‘stop undermining rights’ of people of Hong Kong

Shweta Sharma
Thursday 19 November 2020 08:12 GMT
(AFP via Getty Images)

The Five Eyes intelligence sharing group of nations issued a joint statement on Wednesday slamming China for breaching international agreements with its new rules to disqualify pro-democracy legislators in Hong Kong, prompting an immediate backlash and en masse resignations.

Foreign ministers from Australia, Britain, Canada, New Zealand and the United States called on China to reverse its actions and “stop undermining the rights” of the people of Hong Kong.

“We urge the Chinese central authorities to re-consider their actions against Hong Kong’s elected legislature and immediately reinstate the Legislative Council members,” read the joint statement by the five countries.

Beijing sacked four opposition members from the Hong Kong legislature last week after passing a resolution that included a new “patriotism” clause for politicians. The move, which allowed the government to eject opposition MPs accused of failing to support Chinese sovereignty in the city, triggered the mass resignation of almost 20 opposition legislators.  

The countries also raised alarm over China’s alleged bid to alter Hong Kong’s autonomy, promised to the former British colony as part of the "one country, two systems" arrangement.

“China’s action is a clear breach of its international obligations under the legally binding, UN-registered Sino-British Joint Declaration,” added the statement.

After China imposed a tough new national security law last year, Britain accused Beijing of violating the 1997 UK-China handover agreement thrice over its ambitious attempts at bringing reforms in the city.  

Despite the ongoing backlash, the Chinese government stated on Tuesday that they would continue bringing further reforms in Hong Kong in order to “perfect” the city’s judicial system.

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