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Procedure : 2021/2505(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B9-0071/2021

Texts tabled :

B9-0071/2021

Debates :

PV 21/01/2021 - 7.1
CRE 21/01/2021 - 7.1

Votes :

Texts adopted :

P9_TA(2021)0027

<Date>{19/01/2021}19.1.2021</Date>
<NoDocSe>B9‑0071/2021</NoDocSe>
PDF 158kWORD 51k

<TitreType>MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION</TitreType>

<TitreSuite>with request for inclusion in the agenda for a debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law</TitreSuite>

<TitreRecueil>pursuant to Rule 144 of the Rules of Procedure</TitreRecueil>


<Titre>on the crackdown on the democratic opposition in Hong Kong

</Titre>

<DocRef>(2021/2505(RSP))</DocRef>


<RepeatBlock-By><Depute>Jordi Solé, Reinhard Bütikofer, Erik Marquardt, Alice Kuhnke, Francisco Guerreiro, Rosa D'Amato, Saskia Bricmont, Diana Riba i Giner, Pär Holmgren, Hannah Neumann, Alviina Alametsä, Yannick Jadot, Ignazio Corrao, Jakop G. Dalunde, Bronis Ropė, Eleonora Evi, Tineke Strik, Sara Matthieu</Depute>

<Commission>{Verts/ALE}on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group</Commission>

</RepeatBlock-By>

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B9-0068/2021
NB: This motion for a resolution is available in the original language only.

B9‑0071/2021

European Parliament resolution on the crackdown on the democratic opposition in Hong Kong

 

(2021/2505(RSP))

The European Parliament,

 having regard to its resolutions of 19 June 2020 on the PRC national security law for Hong Kong and of 18 July 2019 on the situation in Hong Kong[1], to its resolutions of 24 November 2016 on the case of Gui Minhai, jailed publisher in China[2], of 4 February 2016 on the case of the missing book publishers in Hong Kong[3], and to its previous recommendations relating to Hong Kong, in particular the recommendation of 13 December 2017 on Hong Kong, 20 years after handover[4],

 having regard to its previous resolutions on China, in particular those of 12 September 2018[5] and of 16 December 2015[6] on EU-China relations,

 having regard to the adoption of the National Security Law in Hong Kong by the Standing Committee of the China’s National People’s Congress on 30 June 2020,

 having regard to the declarations on Hong Kong by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR), on behalf of the European Union, of 12 November 2020 and 7 January 2021,

-  having regard to the statements on Hong Kong by the Spokeperson of 10 August, 22 September, 2 November and 29 December 2020,

 having regard to the joint statement of the 21st EU-China summit of 9 April 2019,

 having regard to the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) adopted on 4 April 1990, which entered into force on 1 July 1997,

 having regard to the joint Communication from the Commission and the VP/HR of 12 March 2019 entitled ‘EU-China – A strategic outlook’ (JOIN(2019)0005), and the Council conclusions of 18 July 2016 on the EU Strategy on China,

-  having regard to the European Parliament Conference of Presidents’ press statement of 6 July 2020,

-  having regard to the Council Conclusions on Hong Kong of 24 July 2020,

- having regard to the Council Decision and a Regulation establishing a global human rights sanctions regime of 7 December 2020,

 having regard to the joint reports of the Commission and the VP/HR of 22 July 2020 (JOIN(2020)13), 8 May 2019 (JOIN(2019)008), 26 April 2017 (JOIN(2016)0016) and 25 April 2016 (JOIN(2016)0010) on the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region – Annual Report,

 having regard to the 13th annual Structured Dialogue that took place in Hong Kong on 28 November 2019, and the 37th EU-China Human Rights Dialogue, held in Brussels on 1 and 2 April 2019,

 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 G7 Foreign Ministers’ Statement on Hong Kong of 17 June 2020,

-  having regard to the comment on the situation in Hong Kong by the OHCHR Spokesperson on 7 January 2021,

 having regard to the EU’s ‘One China’ policy,

 having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948,

 having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 16 December 1966, and the concerns raised by the UN Human Rights Committee in its List of Issues for Hong Kong, published on 26 August 2020,

 having regard to Rule 132(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

 

A. whereas on 5 January 2021 the Hong Kong police arrested 53 representatives of the democratic opposition and activists under charges of subversion under the National Security Law in Hong Kong (NSL); whereas among those detained were the organisers and candidates of last July’s democratic primaries in view of the upcoming LegCo elections, former LegCo members, district councillors, as well as an American lawyer involved in the pro-democracy movement; whereas under the direction of the Hong Kong Police, banks also froze HKD $ 1.6 million related to the 53 individuals; whereas all but three individuals have been released on bail pending further investigation;

B. whereas this was the latest of a long series of arrests of representatives and activists of the democratic opposition and other actions aimed at undermining democratic institutions in Hong Kong since the entry into force of the NSL on 1 July 2020; whereas 93 opposition figures have been arrested under the law since its introduction; whereas the United Nations human rights experts on 1 September affirmed that the law implicated serious concerns of legality, as well as undue limitations on freedom of opinion, expression and peaceful assembly;

C.  whereas Hong Kong Leader and prominent Chinese officials had declared, upon its adoption, that the NSL would be applied over some extremely rare cases posing serious threats to Chinese national security; whereas, in practice, the law, based on very broad and vague definitions and provisions, is being applied to essentially outlaw all forms of dissent with the pro-Chinese camp, to stifle political pluralism and the exercise of human rights; whereas since the adoption of the NSL Hong Kong authorities have increasingly detained pro-democracy leaders, raided news media offices and ousted opposition lawmakers almost on a daily basis;

D. whereas the Hong Kong government took the decision to postpone LegCo elections originally scheduled for 6 September 2020 by one year, clearly in an effort to hamper the opposition, which for the first time had stood a real chance of winning a majority; whereas immediately after the entry into force of the NSL, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam declared that primaries were illegal and might violate the NSL;

E.  whereas on 10 August 2020 Jimmy Lay, the media mogul and founder of the pro-dem newspaper Apple Daily was arrested on grounds of violations of the NSL;

F.  whereas on 23 August, 12 Hong Kong city residents, who had been active in the protests, were arrested after being caught in a speedboat fleeing to Taiwan on grounds of separatism and collusion with foreign forces; whereas, after having being detained without charge in a detention centre in the mainland and being denied bail, at the end of December 2020, 10 of the them were sentenced to between seven months and three years in prison after a one-day trial in Shenzen, which was effectively closed to the public and held in violation of the principle of fair trial and due process;

G. whereas on 10 November 2020 the National People’s Congress (NPC) of the PRC passed a resolution to make patriotism a legal requirement for Hong Kong lawmakers, giving power to the Hong Kong government to disqualify lawmakers without having to go through courts; whereas, under such new ruling, Hong Kong lawmakers who refuse to acknowledge Beijing’s sovereignty will “immediately lose their qualifications”; whereas on the next day following the adoption of the ruling, four opposition LegCo members were disqualified;

H. whereas in reaction to such events, 15 members of the pan-democrat opposition in the LegCo immediately resigned en masse and in protest, leaving LegCo practically deprived of any representation of the opposition;

I. whereas on 24 July 2020, the Council of the EU adopted a coordinated package of measures towards Hong Kong to respond to the imposition of the NSL, in particular measures in relation to visas, asylum and residence permits, an export control regime for dual-use equipment and technology related to internal repression and cyber surveillance, stepping up scholarships and academic exchanges involving Hong Kong students and universities, further engagement with and supporting Hong Kong civil society, the monitoring the extra-territorial effects of the NSL, the review of extradition arrangements between the EU Member States and Hong Kong; whereas those measures were reviewed by the EEAS and discussed with the Member States at the Foreign Affairs Council on 7 December 2020, concluding that the political situation had deteriorated, with severe blows to political pluralism and freedom of opinion and that the EU would continue to implement the Council conclusions expressing political support for Hong Kong's autonomy under the "One Country, Two Systems" principle, and that, if necessary, further measures could be considered at a later stage;

K. whereas with the adoption of the Council Decision and Regulation establishing a global human rights sanction regime, for the first time, the EU is equipping itself with a framework that will allow it to target individuals, entities and bodies – including state and non-state actors – responsible for, provide financial, technical, or material support for or are otherwise involved in, or associated with serious human rights violations and abuses worldwide, no matter where they occurred;

J. whereas the US have imposed sanctions on prominent Hong Kong and Chinese individuals, including Carrie Lam, on several occasions since the introduction of the NSL, over their alleged role in crushing dissent and undermining the democratic processes and institutions in Hong Kong;

L. whereas the NSL is in clear violation of the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration and the 1990 Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) guaranteeing the autonomy and the independence of the executive, legislative and the judiciary, as well as basic rights and freedoms like freedom of speech assembly, association and press for 50 years after handover of sovereignty; whereas the NSL also prevents Hong Kong from abiding by its international human rights obligations, including the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), whose implementation by Hong Kong will soon be reviewed;

M. whereas since the raids of the 6 of January the police has blocked at least one website; whereas the NSL provides the Hong Kong Police with the powers to order internet providers to remove websites or content deemed to breach national security;

N. whereas the EU has always strongly supported the “One Country Two Systems” principle and the preservation of Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy in line with the Basic Law and international commitments; whereas under the current situation those principles are on the verge of being irreversibly undermined;

O. whereas Article 21 TEU provides that the Union’s action on the international scene shall be guided by the principles which have inspired its own creation, development and enlargement, and which it seeks to advance in the wider world;

 

1. Strongly deplores the latest arrest of more than 50 representatives of the democratic political camp of Hong Kong for standing in and organising primary polling for pro-democracy groups; requests Hong Kong authorities to immediately drop all charges against them; considers this as the latest episode of a long spiral of grave attacks against representatives of the democratic opposition and activists related to the exercise of fundamental freedoms, as well as the confirmation that even the notion of political opposition in Hong Kong is now criminalised;

2. Regrets that all the concerns expressed by the international community before the formal adoption of the NSL remained unheard; is deeply concerned that, since the entry into force of the NSL, systematic attacks and arrests against the opposition have intensified and occurred almost on a daily basis; believes that this is the confirmation that the NSL is being used to detain individuals for exercising the legitimate right to participate in political and public life and to ultimately irreversibly undermine the democratic institutions of Hong Kong, in full breach of Hong Kong and China’s international commitments; is appalled at the determination of Chinese and Hong Kong authorities to destroy the last remnants of Hong Kong’s autonomy; underlines that the people of Hong Kong enjoy the right to self-determination under both the Basic Law and the IPCCR to which Hong Kong is party;

3. Calls on Hong Kong authorities to immediately refrain from further using the NSL to suppress the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association;

4. Is alarmed by the adoption by the PRC’s NPC of a ruling on the disqualification of LegCo members for lack of loyalty to Beijing and by its impact on any future election in Hong Kong, which seriously risks dismantling in effect the “One Country, Two System” principle; highlights the importance of preventing as a next step the disqualification of district councillors;

5. Notes with concern the role of some EU-based banks in supporting Chinese authorities in enforcing the NSL by freezing the assets and bank accounts of former Hong Kong pro-democracy lawmakers;

6. Stresses the importance of safeguarding the possibility of fair participation to the elections for all forces of the political spectrum in Hong Kong and that no changes to the electoral law that would further isolate the pro-democratic camp should be introduced;

7.  Expresses concern at the increasing attacks against the Hong Kong judiciary by the Chinese Communist Party and the state-controlled Chinese press aimed at directly calling into question judicial independence; is concerned that the NSL could be further enforced, as a next step, to undermine the independence of the judiciary of Hong Kong, since the chief executive is being given the power appoint judges to prosecute national security cases and since those charged could be extradited to mainland China and tried in Chinese courts;

8. Recalls that Hong Kong has enjoyed open internet access but is concerned that the NSL grants the police the power to order internet providers to block websites; expresses its strong concern at the recent declarations by the internet service provider Hong Kong Broadband Network (HKBN) that it would now reject any sites that could incite “illegal acts” based on the NSL, and consequently at the tangible risk that Hong Kong could be integrated into the Chinese firewall; urges Hong Kong authorities to immediately withdraw all takedown orders already issued and to restore full internet accessibility;

9. Is deeply disturbed by the reports that the Hong Kong authorities are considering prosecuting Danish lawmakers Uffe Elbæk and Katarina Ammitzbøll for supporting Hong Kong activist Ted Hui into exile to Denmark; believe that the proposed changes against Danish lawmakers are illegitimate and false and is expresses strong concern at the determination of the CCP to single out dissenting voice in Hong Kong across the democratic world through an extraterritorial application of the NSL;

10.  Strongly welcomes the decision by the UK government to o create a pathway to citizenship for the more than one million Hong Kong residents who hold British National Overseas (BNO) passports; condemns the threats by China to withdraw recognition of such passports as a valid travel document and is concerned at the latest information that China would be considering excluding from Hong Kong public office those holding BNO passports or even to deny them the right to vote in Hong Kong elections;

11.  Welcomes the adoption of a package of measures by the Council of the EU in July last year and highlights the importance of a close coordination between EEAS, Commission and Member States for a successful and effective implementation of the measures; calls on the EEAS to provide a more transparent assessment of those measures;

12.  Stresses the urgency of setting up ‘life boat’ schemes for the citizens of Hong Kong and encourages the Member States to step up efforts in providing scholarships and exchanges to the Hong Kong academics and students;

13. Welcomes the decisions by EU Member States and other international partners to suspend extradition treaties with Hong Kong; highlights the importance of continuing trial observations and to continue assessing and preparing responses to the possible extraterritoriality implications of the NSL; 

14. Notes with concern that China’s human rights record has been dramatically deteriorating over the years despite improved EU public and private diplomacy and 37 rounds of the EU-China human rights dialogue; reiterates its call for a new and more assertive EU policy on China, and urges the EEAS to hold a shadow human rights dialogue with independent civil society and all EU Member States, with a view to improving understanding of China’s abusive policies and devising a strategy to bring about positive human rights change in China; recalls the importance for the EU to raise the issue of human rights violations of minorities, including in Tibet, Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia, at every political and human rights dialogue with the Chinese authorities;

15. Calls on the Council to intensify the discussions and assessment of the package of measures on Hong Kong and to promptly consider the introduction of targeted sanctions against individuals in Hong Kong and China, including Carrie Lam, under the EU human rights global sanction regime, taking into account, in the course of 2021, the imperative to restore civil and political rights, and the condition for the representatives of the democratic opposition to be freed and allowed to take part in the next elections, fully in line with the Basic Law of HKSAR;

16. Calls on the HRVP and the EEAS to foster the dialogue with the government of HKSAR; believes that the EU-Hong Kong Structured Dialogue should be intensified by adding a political dimension, besides the existing one on economy and trade;

17. Regrets the fact that the decision for a political conclusion of the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) has not reflected the European Parliament’s requests in previous resolutions on Hong Kong for using investment negotiations as a leverage tool aiming at preserving Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy, as well as its basic rights and freedoms; regrets that, by rushing to reach this agreement while not taking concrete action against ongoing grave human right violations, the EU risks undermining its credibility as a global human rights actor; 

18. Urges all EU and European diplomatic personnel to do everything they can to provide protection and support to peaceful activists in Hong Kong, including also by attending trials, requesting prison visits and consistently and resolutely reaching out to local authorities, in full application of the EU Guidelines on human rights defenders and other relevant EU policies, including the new EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy;

19. Urges the EU and all its Member States to act unitedly and resolutely towards the establishment of a UN independent monitoring on China, by proactively expanding coalitions of likeminded countries by holding an “Arria” formula meeting on China at the UN Security Council, urging the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to launch an Human Rights Council investigation into the abuses and urging the UN Secretary General to appoint a Special Envoy on China; urges the EEAS and the Member States that are members of the UN Human Rights Council to step up their efforts to publicly raise concerns about China’s rights violation, for example by taking the initiative on a Special Session on the human rights situation in China, including Hong Kong, during the 2021 Council cycle, and underlines that China’s membership to the Council demands that it be held to a higher standard of human rights security;

20. Stresses that, in the present context where diplomacy falls short in persuading China to abide by international law, coordination between and support from democracies is essential; believes that it is vital for democracies to hold Beijing accountable for trampling on commitments to preserve Hong Kong freedom; calls on like-minded countries to systematically aim at coordination of both communication and actions; calls on the Council and the HRVP to work with the international community to establish an international contact group on Hong Kong;

21. Calls on the international community to honour their promises to the people of Hong Kong and take urgent and unprecedented action to hold China accountable for these violations of international law; reiterates its call to the EU and the Member States to consider filing a case before the International Court of Justice alleging that China’s decision to impose the NSL on Hong Kong and its application violate the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the ICCPR;

22. Remains particularly outraged at the continuing detention of Swedish published Gui Minhai, and urges robust and steady intervention by EU and member states at the highest level to secure his release; calls for the release of dual Hong Kong-Portugal citizen/national Kok Tze-Lun, and urges that he be allowed access to Portuguese consular staff and counsel of his choice;

23. 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.

 

 

[1] Texts adopted, P9_TA(2019)0004.

[2] OJ C 244, 27.6.2018, p. 78.

[3] OJ C 35, 31.1.2018, p. 46

[4] OJ C 369, 11.10.2018, p. 156

[5] OJ C 433, 23.12.2019, p. 103.

[6] OJ C 399, 24.11.2017, p. 92.

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