Australia’s foreign ministry co-signs letter calling for free elections in Hong Kong
The foreign ministries of five nations, including Australia, have urged the Hong Kong Government to hold elections as soon as possible.
- The joint letter says the five nations have “deep concern” for Hong Kong
- Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam postponed September’s elections for 12 months
- Ms Lam’s Government also suspended 12 pro-democracy candidates
In a joint letter, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States have called for the Legislative Council elections, which were to be held in September, to go ahead and for disqualified candidates to be reinstated.
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam announced the Government had postponed the highly anticipated legislative elections by one year, citing a worsening coronavirus outbreak.
Ms Lam, with the support of the Chinese Government, delayed the ballot last month.
Twelve pro-democracy candidates including prominent activist Joshua Wong were disqualified from running for not complying with the city’s mini-constitution or pledging allegiance to the local and national governments.
The joint letter said the Chinese Government needed to honour its commitment to the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ policy it agreed to when it took control of the island from the UK in 1997.
“We support the legitimate expectations of the people of Hong Kong to elect Legislative Council representatives via genuinely free, fair, and credible elections,” the statement read.
“We call on the Hong Kong Government to reinstate the eligibility of disqualified candidates so that the elections can take place in an environment conducive to the exercise of democratic rights and freedoms as enshrined in the Basic Law.
“Beijing promised autonomy and freedoms under the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ principle to the Hong Kong people in the Sino-British Joint Declaration, a UN-registered treaty, and must honour its commitments.”
The letter also expressed “deep concern” for the National Security Laws introduced by Beijing.
The new legislation led to widespread protests in the city.
“We express deep concern at Beijing’s imposition of the new National Security Law, which is eroding the Hong Kong people’s fundamental rights and liberties,” the letter read.
“We urge the Hong Kong Government to hold the elections as soon as possible.”