MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on the crackdown on the democratic opposition in Hong Kong
19.1.2021 - (2021/2505(RSP))
pursuant to Rule 144 of the Rules of Procedure
on behalf of The Left Group
European Parliament resolution on the crackdown on the democratic opposition in Hong Kong
The European Parliament,
having regard to the Basic Law of the Special Administrative Region (SAR) of Hong Kong adopted on 4 April 1990, which entered into force on 1 July 1997,
having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCR) of 16 December 1966
having regard to the Joint Declaration of the Government of the United Kingdom and the Government of the People’s Republic of China on the Question of Hong Kong of 19 December 1984, also known as the Sino-British Joint Declaration,
having regard to the EU’s ‘One China’ policy,
Having regard to the joint statement of the 21st EU-China summit of 9 April 2019,
Having regard to the 37th EU-China Human Rights Dialogue, held in Brussels on 1 and 2 April 2019,
Having regard to the joint communication from the Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of 12 March 2019 entitled ‘EU-China – A strategic outlook’ (JOIN(2019)0005),
Having regard to the Declaration of the High Representative on behalf of the European Union on Hong Kong of 28 May 2020,
having regard to Rule 144 of its Rules of Procedure,
A) Whereas on 6 January 2021, 53 people were arrested in Hong Kong under the National Security Law, including the organisers and candidates in last July’s democratic primaries where over 600,000 Hong Kongers voted for candidates for the upcoming Legislative Council elections.
B) Whereas six of the organisers of last year’s primary were charged with “organising subversion” and forty-seven candidates were charged with “participating in subversion” under the National Security Law.
C) whereas during some of the demonstrations there were sporadic violent acts that were subsequently prosecuted in a seemingly excessive way;
D) Whereas sovereignty over Hong Kong was transferred from the United Kingdom to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) on 1 July 1997, ending decades of British colonialism on this Chinese territory; whereas the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration guaranteed, and the 1990 Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) stipulates, that Hong Kong will maintain the autonomy and independence of the executive, legislature and judiciary for 50 years following the handover of sovereignty; whereas according to Section 3(2) of the 1984 Sino-British Declaration places security and defense policy under control of the Government of the People’s Republic of China
E) Whereas the third session of the thirteenth National People’s Congress authorized the National People’s Congress Standing Committee to promulgate a national security law in Hong Kong; whereas this decision was formally taken in accordance with Article 18 of the Basic Law;
F) Whereas new security laws in many countries have laid the foundations for violation of democratic and civil rights in many countries; whereas there has been a general shift in the balance between civil liberties and security measures towards more draconian state intervention;
G) Whereas over the years, the people of Hong Kong have witnessed mass demonstrations; whereas 15 leading activists were arrested in April 2020 and have been charged with various counts; whereas there have been violent incidents during some of these demonstrations;
H) Whereas according to data published by the National Endowment for Democracy the United States and the United Kingdom have used millions of dollars to support emerging create a networks of social and political organisations, as well as media outlets in Hong Kong;
I) Whereas the Trump Administration has been steadily escalating confrontation with China; whereas this escalation of tensions by the United States has very problematic consequences for peace and security , the rule based international world order, international trade and social security worldwide; whereas the US Administration has unilaterally pulled apart the foundation of multilateralism; whereas there are legitimate demands on the incoming US administration to deescalate the conflict and return to a rule-based way of solving disagreements.
J) Whereas the EU and China have reaffirmed that, all human rights are universal, indivisible, and interdependent and interrelated, whereas they agreed to continue the Human rights dialogues and to cooperate on this in the UN fora.
K) Whereas in the Joint EU-Summit statement the EU and China committed to uphold the UN Charter and international law, and all the three pillars of the UN system, namely peace and security, development and human rights;
L) Whereas the European Union, in accordance to the United Nations Charter and international law, must respect sovereign states and contribute to re-building the foundations of multilateralism, which is constantly under attack by the United States; whereas the People's Republic of China remains a strategic partner for rebuilding the law based system of international relations which has its basis on peace, sovereignty, cooperation and social progress and whereas competition and different national political and economic order and therefore interests should not hinder the mutual beneficial cooperation;
M) Whereas multinationals companies and among them European companies are using Hong Kong as a turntable for their benefits with regards to the very low level of taxation and high level of “fiscal optimisation” for residents and companies; whereas in 2017-18, Hong Kong was placed on the watchlist and was required to meet relevant EU criteria with a 2018 deadline – to avoid getting blacklisted for non-compliance; whereas on March 12, 2019, the European Commission removed Hong Kong from the European Union’s watchlist on non-cooperative tax jurisdictions;
- Reiterates that any security legislation must adhere to human rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights;
- Expresses concern about the reports of the arrest of more than 50 activists and politicians in Hong Kong for “subversion” under the New Security Law that is being implemented since June; notes the vague definition of this crime in the National Security Law which could lead to collusion with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;
- Recognizes that both the EU’s ‘One China’ policy and the respect of the basic international agreements on Hong Kong as well as the United Nations Charter and international law are cornerstones of the EU-China relations; Recalls the need to respect the sovereignty of the People’s Republic of China.
- Underlines that Hong Kong is part of the People’s Republic of China, with Special Administrative Region (SAR) status and under the ‘One Country, Two System’ rule with a unique Basic Law constitution, one which should not be subjected to foreign interference; condemns all foreign attempts to undermine China’s sovereignty over Hong Kong; recognizes that all people have the right to aspire to self-determination and seek political change through democratic means; believes that peace, stability and safety in the world relies on an international system where countries hold each other accountable for human rights violations;
- Calls on the National People’s Congress Standing Committee to deepen the proactive dialogue with the people of Hong Kong, via the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government, the long-term developments of the region, and in particular in the process of revising and drafting the new security laws, and to take into consideration their concerns; encourage local Hong Kong communities to engage more closely with their mainland equivalents, through deepening inclusive dialogue and consulations with all citizens about the future functioning of the formula ‘One country, Two systems’ transformative phase till 2040, through cultural understanding, linguistic exchanges instead of resorting to xenophobia, racism and prejudice;
- Recognizes that a Security Law is necessary in Hong Kong SAR, as stipulated in Article 23 of the Basic Law, acknowledges the challenges of enforcing the law at such a sensitive time;
- Calls on China’s legislators and authorities to ensure that Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy as guaranteed in the Basic Law and the Sino-British Joint Declaration;
- Underlines that nobody should be subjected to administrative or criminal sanctions for taking part in a peaceful protest; Urges the HKSAR government to investigate allegations of any individuals held in prisons or police stations without charge, including minors, and immediately release them if it is the case;
- Urges Carrie Lam, Chief Executive of HKSAR, to rebuild and improve trust by engaging in dialogue with opposition figures and activist communities;
- Expresses concerns about the rising socio-economic inequality and rising poverty in Hong Kong; believes that guaranteed civil liberties and increased social justice are important elements for achieving stability and a better future for the people of Hong Kong; Believes that the HKSAR government must put the interests of its people first instead of businesses, the financial sector, conglomerates and multinationals, with coherent policies to reverse the massive social inequality, rising poverty, as well as undergo huge public programs to address the severe lack of social housing, poor healthcare and underfunded education systems - all of which have helped contribute to the instability and endless cycles of violence;
- Condemns the British Government’s intention to offer citizenships or residency exemptions to British Nationals (Overseas) passport holders in Hong Kong as further provocation from external powers, and an abuse of its colonial reach - 23 years after the handover;
- Calls on all foreign states to stop interfering in the situation in Hong Kong in order to diffuse tension between China and Hong Kong, and to prevent the United States from using it as a pretext to complicate further the situation;
- Condemns the unilateral decision by the President of the United States of America to end Hong Kong’s privileged status as an unnecessary, retaliatory measure that effectively changes Hong Kong’s special status as recognized in international law, and will not only adversely affect the territory’s economic and social standing, its people´s prosperity, but also the diplomatic relationship with China as a whole, and the possible effects this would have on the increasingly-volatile Asia-Pacific region;
- Deplores the intervention of the United States as undermining the long-standing ‘One Country, Two Systems’ principle, and the potential consequences his decision could have on Hong Kong;
- Welcomes the fact that as result of the 2019 EU-China Summit both partners confirmed their strategic partnership and demonstrated their political will to discuss and find solutions in areas where the partners have different views and approaches; calls that the next EU-China Summit should reconfirm the strategic partnership, based on mutual cooperation, between the EU and China and calls to discuss openly with a view to find solutions the areas where the partners have different views and approaches; Highlights the importance of a closer cooperation between the European Union and the People’s Republic of China in different sectors, including the Belt and Road initiative, and the need to have relations based on understanding and mutually beneficial agreements; recalls the importance of good relations with China in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, in which Chinese authorities have closely collaborated with different Member States showing solidarity;
- Notes the agreements between China and the EU and its Member States;
- Reaffirms that the activities of EU Member states and their companies must fully respect international human rights standards, especially when operating in third countries; calls on the Member States to ensure that companies under their national law remain bound to respect human rights and the social, health and environmental standards imposed on them if they establish or operate in a third country and are committed to respect their fiscal duties; regrets that the European Commission removed Hong Kong the European Union’s watch list on non-cooperative tax jurisdictions; calls on the Commission and the Member States to take the necessary measures against EU Member state companies that do not respect these standards or that do not satisfactorily compensate victims of human rights violations directly or indirectly;
- Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Government and Parliament of the People’s Republic of China, and the Chief Executive and the Assembly of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.