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MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on Hong Kong, notably the case of Apple Daily

6.7.2021 - (2021/2786(RSP))

with request for inclusion in the agenda for a debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law
pursuant to Rule 144 of the Rules of Procedure

Pedro Marques, Andrea Cozzolino, Evelyne Gebhardt
on behalf of the S&D Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B9-0385/2021

Eljárás : 2021/2786(RSP)
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B9‑0389/2021

European Parliament resolution on Hong Kong, notably the case of Apple Daily

(2021/2786(RSP))

The European Parliament,

 having regard to its previous resolutions on Hong Kong, in particular those of 21 January 2021 on the crackdown on the democratic opposition in Hong Kong, of 19 June 2020 on the PRC national security law for Hong Kong and the need for the EU to defend Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy, 17 July 2019 on the situation in Hong Kong[1], 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], of 15 December 2005 on the human rights situation in Tibet and Hong Kong[4], of 8 April 2003 on the Third and Fourth Annual Reports by the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament on the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region[5], of 19 December 2002 on Hong Kong[6], of 26 October 2000 on the First and Second Annual Reports by the Commission on the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong[7], of 8 October 1998 on the communication from the Commission to the Council on the European Union and Hong Kong: Beyond 1997[8], and of 10 April 1997 on the situation in Hong Kong[9],

 having regard to its previous resolutions on China, in particular those of 20 May 2021 on Chinese countersanctions on EU entities and MEPs and MPs, of 12 September 2018 on the state of EU-China relations[10] and of 16 December 2015 on EU-China relations[11],

 having regard to its recommendation of 13 December 2017 to the Council, the Commission and the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR) on Hong Kong, 20 years after handover[12],

 having regard to the declaration by the EEAS Spokesperson on the closure of Apple Daily’s Hong Kong operations of 23 June 2021, to the statement of the  High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell on the changes to Hong Kong’s electoral system of 6 June 2021, to the statement of the EEAS Spokesperson on the sentencing of pro-democracy activists of 16 April 2021, to the declaration of the HR/VP on behalf of the EU on the NPC Decision regarding the Hong Kong electoral system of 11 March 2021, on the mass arrest of people involved in the July 2020 pro-democracy primary elections in Hong Kong of 7 January 2021, to the statement of the Spokesperson on the trial of 10 Hong Kongers of 29 December 2020, to the declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the EU on the disqualification of Members of the Hong Kong Legislative Council of 12 November 2020, to the statement by the Spokesperson on the arrest of several pro-democracy lawmakers and former lawmakers in Hong Kong of 2 November 2020, to the statement by the Spokesperson on the arrest of Joshua Wong and other pro-democracy activists of 24 September 2020, to the statement by the Spokesperson on recent arrests and raids under the National Security Law in Hong Kong of 10 August 2020, to the declaration of the High Representative on behalf of the EU on the postponement of the Legislative Council elections in Hong Kong of 4 August 2020, and to the declaration of the High Representative on behalf of the European Union on the adoption by China’s National People’s Congress of a National Security Legislation on Hong Kong of 1 July 2020,

 having regard to the Council conclusions on Hong Kong of 28 July 2020,

   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 of 26 August 2020

   having regard to the remarks by Council President Charles Michel after the EU-China leaders’ meeting of 14 September 2020,

  having regard to the joint statement of President Michel and President von der Leyen on defending EU interests and values in a complex and vital partnership following the 22nd EU-China summit that took place on 22 June 2020,

   having regard to the UN experts’ call of 26 June 2020 for decisive measures to protect fundamental freedoms in China,

 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 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 “Hong Kong Special Administrative Region: Annual Report for 2019” of 22 July 2020 from the Commission and the VP/HR to Parliament and the Council, and the other 21 similar reports preceding it,

 having regard to the 13th annual Structured Dialogue that took place in Hong Kong on 28 November 2019,

 having regard to the joint communication from the Commission and the VP/HR to the European Parliament and the Council of 12 March 2019 entitled ‘EU-China – A strategic outlook’ (JOIN(2019)0005),

 having regard to the EU’s ‘One China’ policy and the principle “One country two systems”,

 having regard to Rule 144 of its Rules of Procedure,

 

 

A. whereas the promotion of and respect for human rights, democracy and the rule of law should remain at the centre of the long-standing relationship between the EU and China, in line with the EU’s commitment to upholding these values in its external action and China’s expressed interest in adhering to them in its own development and international cooperation;

B. whereas the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration guarantees, and the 1990 Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) stipulates that Hong Kong will maintain the autonomy and independence of the executive, legislature and judiciary as well as basic rights and freedoms, including freedom of speech, of assembly, of association and of press for 50 years after the handover of sovereignty; whereas both the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law enshrine the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ principle’ as agreed between China and the United Kingdom;

C. whereas Hong Kong is party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and will soon be reviewed on its implementation of Covenant obligations;

D. whereas the Hong Kong’s last pro-democracy paper “Apple Daily” was forced to cease operations after police froze $2.3 million of its assets, searched its office and detained five editors and executives on the 17th of June, including Editor-in-Chief Ryan Law, Chief Executive Cheung Kim-hung, Chief Operating Officer Royston Chow, Associate Publisher Chan Puiman and Director of Apple Daily Digital Cheung Chi-wai; whereas on June 18th, 2021, Ryan Law and Cheung Kim-hung were formally charged for “conspiracy to collude with foreign forces” and denied bail, at the same time bail for Royston Chow, Chan Pui-man and Cheung Chi-wai was granted;

E. whereas, on the 28th of June, police at Hong Kong International Airport arrested Fung Wai-kong, a former senior editorial writer for the pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily, while he was attempting to board a flight to the United Kingdom, on suspicion of “conspiring to collude with foreign countries or foreign forces,” a crime under the national security law, and he was released on bail 2 days later; whereas editorial writer Yeung Ching-kee (who wrote under the pen name Li Ping) was arrested on June 23 and released on bail on June 25;

F. whereas the Apple Daily founder Jimmy Lai is currently in prison and on trial for alleged violations of the national security law; whereas in a separate case, Lai was sentenced on April 16 to 14 months in prison for allegedly organizing and participating in illegal demonstrations in 2019;

G. whereas on 27th of June, another independent media outlet, Stand News announced that it will delete all opinion articles and columns from its website due to the concern that the Hong Kong government, under the pretext of National Security Law, might use them against their own journalists;

H. whereas the National Security Law imposed by Beijing is being used to stifle freedom of the press and the free expression of opinions; whereas this legislation undermines media freedom and pluralism, which are essential for any open and free society; whereas the erosion of press freedom is also counter to Hong Kong’s aspirations as an international business hub;

I. whereas the changes to the electoral system adopted by the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) in March 2021 and passed by Hong Kong’s Legislative Council on 27 May 2021 are breaching the “One Country Two Systems” principle; whereas these changes run counter to the commitments to greater democratic representation enshrined in the Hong Kong Basic Law;

J. whereas 10 prominent pro-democracy figures, namely Martin Lee, Albert Ho, Jimmy Lai, Margaret Ng, Cyd Ho, Lee Cheuk-yan, Leung Kwok-hung, Au Nok-hin, Leung Yiu-chung, and Yeung Sum, were sentenced on the 16th of April in Hong Kong in two separate cases for their peaceful involvement in protests; whereas their sentences range from terms of imprisonment between 8 and 18 months, and suspended prison sentences from 8 to 12 months in five of the cases, whereas these latest decisions follow the sentencing of Joshua Wong and Sze-yiu Koo on 13 April;

K. whereas the lengthy imprisonment of some of the individuals for non-violent acts when exercising protected civic rights is a further sign of the continued diminution of the democratic space and erosion of fundamental freedoms in Hong Kong; whereas the exercise of fundamental freedoms, including peaceful assembly, must be ensured, as guaranteed in the Hong Kong Basic Law and in the Sino-British Joint Declaration;

L. whereas the pan-democratic camp in Hong Kong, human rights organisations and the international community have criticised these decisions as a threat to the ‘one country, two systems’ principle, the rule of law and civil liberties and a direct violation of China’s international commitments;

M. Whereas the journalists at Macau’s public broadcaster have been ordered to promote “patriotism, respect and love” for China, and at least six journalists have resigned after the introduction of new editorial rules, showing that concerns over the National Security Law also affects other regions; Whereas the Macao Basic Law also protects freedom of press and is in place until 2049.

N. whereas the EU and Parliament strongly support the ‘one country, two systems’ principle and Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy;

O. whereas the European Union continues to have deep concerns regarding the PRC national security law for Hong Kong; whereas this is a sensitive issue, with far-reaching consequences for Hong Kong and its people, for EU and foreign citizens, for EU and international civil society organizations, as well as for business confidence in Hong Kong; whereas the entry into force of the national security law increases the risks for the EU citizens in Hong Kong;

 

1. Calls for the immediate and unconditional release and dropping of all charges against all the journalists arrested in Hong Kong on charges pursuant to the National Security Law, particularly those working for the Apple Daily; urges the authorities to respect Hong Kong’s rule of law, human rights, democratic principles and high degree of autonomy under the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ principle, as enshrined in the Hong Kong Basic Law and in line with domestic and international obligations

2.  Calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all the Hong Kong pro-democracy figures, including Martin Lee, Albert Ho, Jimmy Lai, Margaret Ng, Cyd Ho, Lee Cheuk-yan, Leung Kwok-hung, Au Nok-hin, Leung Yiu-chung, Yeung Sum, Joshua Wong and Sze-yiu Koo;

3. Calls for the immediate unconditional release and dropping of all charges against all peaceful Hong Kong protesters arrested in the last years, who have simply exercised their right to freedom of expression or other human rights, and end the practice of bringing such charges in future; calls for independent, impartial, effective and prompt investigations into the use of force by Hong Kong police against protesters;

4. Calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Swedish bookseller Gui Minhai imprisoned in the PRC;

5. Calls on the Hong Kong authorities to end all legal harassment and all intimidation directed at journalists and to strive for the protection and the safety of journalists against all forms of violence, pressure, discrimination, unfair legal proceedings and all attempts aimed at preventing them from accomplishing their mission or of weakening their ability to do so in accord with international norms, especially with Articles 19 and 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights on the right to freedom of expression and the right to freedom of peaceful assembly;

6. Condemns any attempts at muzzling pro-democracy activists, including the blocking of pro-democracy websites, under the National Security Law; reiterates that the freedom of expression and of information is a fundamental right enshrined in Hong Kong’s domestic and international law;

7. Calls for the end of politically motivated prosecutions and other legal procedures against peaceful protesters and others to silence critical voices and deter people from participation in the public sphere;

8. Strongly condemns all cases of human rights violations in Hong Kong, in particular arbitrary arrests, rendition, forced confessions, incommunicado custody and violations of the freedoms of publication and of expression; calls for an immediate end to human rights violations and political intimidation; expresses grave concern over the reported practices of secret detention, of torture and ill-treatment, and of forced confessions;

9. Condemns the unilateral introduction of national security legislation by Beijing in Hong Kong, as this is a comprehensive assault on the city’s autonomy, rule of law, and fundamental freedoms; stresses that the integrity of ‘one-country, two-systems’ is seriously under threat; calls for the safeguards that are enshrined in Hong Kong law are strictly adhered to as a counterweight to the sweeping powers introduced by the National Security Law

10. Calls for the full withdrawal of the law ‘Decision of the National People’s Congress on Establishing and Completing the Hong Kong’s Special Administrative Region’s Legal System and Implementation Mechanisms for the Preservation of National Security’, which damages Hong Kong’s international status by eroding its autonomy, democracy, the independence of the justice system and its respect of human rights; stresses that the introduction of the national security legislation is a breach of the PRC’s commitments and obligations under international law, namely the Sino-British Joint Declaration, and threatens to severely damage the relationship of trust between China and the EU, and their future cooperation;

11. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to address the issue of the national security law for Hong Kong, and other regions, as a top priority on the agenda of all EU-China meetings and to resolutely address the issue in diplomatic consultations in preparation of these; calls for the EU institutions and the Member States to offer all needed support to the human rights activists in Hong Kong, in full application of the relevant EU guidelines;

12. Calls for the EU and its Member States to fully support a United Nations Human Rights Council special session or urgent debate on the deteriorating human rights situation in China, including the implementation of the National Security Law, consider the creation of a monitoring and reporting mechanism and the appointment of a UN Special Envoy;

13. Reiterates its call on the Council to promptly impose targeted sanctions under the EU Global Human Rights Sanction regime on individuals in Hong-Kong, Macao and mainland China responsible for Human Rights violations, including Carrie Lam, Teresa Yeuk-wah Cheng, Xia Baolong, Xiaoming Zhang, Luo Huining, Zheng Yanxiong, Ping-kien Tang, Wai-Chung Lo and Ka-chiu Lee;

14. Calls for the EU, its Member States and the international community to work towards the imposition of appropriate export control mechanisms to deny China access to technologies used to violate human rights; regrets the fact that China is not complying with its own commitments entered into by adhering to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development principles on human-centred artificial intelligence and by having subscribed to the G20 declaration of June 2019, and calls on the Commission and the Member States to continue calling on China to adhere to its own commitments in this regard;

15.  Commits to the adoption of an effective EU corporate due diligence legislation imposing due diligence obligations to EU companies and companies operating in the EU single market and ensuring that products and services produced by companies violating fundamental rights in Hong-Kong and mainland China cannot be purchased in the EU internal market;

16. Recalls the importance of the EU continuing to raise the issue of human rights violations in China, in particular the case of minorities in Tibet and Xinjiang, at every political and human rights dialogue with the Chinese authorities, in line with the EU’s commitment to project a strong, clear and unified voice in its approach to the country; reiterates its call on the Member States to suspend their extradition treaties with the People’s Republic of China, to prevent the extradition of Uyghurs, citizens of Hong Kong, Tibetans, or Chinese dissidents in Europe to stand political trial in the People’s Republic of China; further recalls that in its ongoing reform process and increasing global engagement, China has opted into the international human rights framework by signing up to a wide range of international human rights treaties; calls for the EU, therefore, to pursue dialogue with China to ensure that it lives up to these commitments;

17. 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 Legislative Council of Hong Kong;

 

 

Utolsó frissítés: 2021. július 6.
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