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Motion for a resolution - B9-0361/2022Motion for a resolution
B9-0361/2022

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on the arrest of Cardinal Zen and the trustees of the 612 relief fund in Hong Kong

5.7.2022 - (2022/2751(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, Evin Incir, Raphaël Glucksmann, Isabel Santos, René Repasi
on behalf of the S&D Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B9-0358/2022

Procedure : 2022/2751(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected :  
B9-0361/2022
Texts tabled :
B9-0361/2022
Debates :
Texts adopted :

B9‑0361/2022

European Parliament resolution on the arrest of Cardinal Zen and the trustees of the 612 relief fund in Hong Kong

(2022/2751(RSP))

The European Parliament,

 having regard to all its previous resolutions on Hong Kong, including its last one on violations of fundamental freedoms in Hong Kong[1]

 having regard to the Joint Declaration of the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) of 19 December 1984 on the Question of Hong Kong, also known as the Sino-British Joint Declaration, which was registered by the Chinese and British Governments at the United Nations on 12 June 1985,

 having regard to the Basic Law of the Special Administrative Region (SAR) of Hong Kong, which was adopted on 4 April 1990 and entered into force on 1 July 1997 and should remain valid until the 30 June 2047,

 having regard to the Law of the People's Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in force since 30 June 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, of 26 August 2020 in relation to the fourth periodic report of Hong Kong, China,

 having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 10 December 1948,

 having regard to the September 2018 and October 2020 Holy See-China Agreements,

 having regard to the establishment of the 612 relief fund in Hong-Kong on 15 June 2019,

 having regard to the arrest of the ninety-year-old retired Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-Kiun, the prominent cultural studies scholar Hui Po-keung, the veteran barrister Margaret Ng Ngoi-yee, the gay rights activist and pop singer Denise Ho Wan-see, the former lawmaker Cyd Ho Sau-lan, as well as the fund secretary Sze Ching-wee on 11 May 2022,

 having regard to the 24th annual report of the European Commission and the High Representative on the political and economic developments in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in 2021[2] released on 20  May 2022,

 having regard to the Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the European Union on the Chief Executive election held on 8 May in Hong-Kong,

 having regard to the US Department of State press statement on 11 May 2022[3]

 having regard to the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders and to its resolution of 17 June 2010 on EU policies in favour of human rights defenders (2009/2199 INI)

 having regard to Rules 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 uphold these values in its external actions and China’s expressed interest in adhering to them in its own development and international cooperation;

B. whereas Hong Kong is bound by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and has a legal obligation to respect the rights to freedom of information, expression and association, as well as to guarantee due process; whereas Hong Kong is currently being reviewed on the fulfilment of its obligations under the covenant;

C. whereas police in Hong Kong arrested 196 people in relation to the National Security Law (NSL); whereas in July 2022, 124 people and 5 companies were formally charged, about 50 of whom were in pre-trial detention; whereas peaceful political expression has been disproportionately restricted and even criminalised under the NSL not only in Hong Kong but also in Tibet, Xingjian and Macao; whereas dozens of pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong have been jailed for fomenting secession and subversion of the state under the NSL;

D. whereas the NSL blatantly violates the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ principle and the Sino-British Joint Declaration; whereas the European Union has a strong stake in the continued stability and prosperity of Hong Kong under the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ principle and attaches great importance to the preservation of Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy, in line with the Basic Law and international commitments; whereas in the current environment, those principles are on the verge of being irreversibly undermined;

E. whereas the 24th Annual report of the European Commission and the High Representative covering the political and economic developments in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in 2021 concludes that the space for civil society continues to shrink and highlights that, in 2021, the ‘one country, two systems' principle in Hong Kong was further undermined by the implementation of the National Security Law.

F. whereas the 612 relief fund aimed to provide humanitarian and relevant financial support to persons who were injured, arrested, attacked or threatened with violence during the Anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill (Anti-ELAB) protests; whereas the 612 relief fund reportedly provided legal and financial assistance to more than 2,200 people prosecuted for their part in the 2019 pro-democracy protests;

G. whereas the civil society organisations were forced to close due to the repression, including the 612 relief fund on 18 August 2021 after national security police demanded that the 612 relief fund hand over operational records, including information about its donors and beneficiaries;

H. whereas it was reported that the arrest of Cardinal Zen, Cyd Ho, Denise Ho, Hui Po-Keung and Margaret Ng[4],  the trustees of the 612 relief fund, was grounded on alleged collusion with “foreign forces” in violation of the national security law; whereas the Cardinal Zen and four trustees were released on bail on 12 May 2022 while former legislator Cyd Ho remains in jail; 

I. whereas the five trustees and the secretary of the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund will reportedly go on trial on 19 September 2022;

J. whereas the Hong Kong Chief Executive, (John) Lee Ka-Chiu, took office on 1st July 2022; whereas for his election on 8th of May 2022 he was the sole candidate in disregard of the people of Hong Kong’s right to universal suffrage; whereas John Lee, as a former Security Chief in Hong-Kong, oversaw the crackdown on Hong Kong's 2019 protests and the introduction of the controversial national security law prohibiting acts of treason, secession, sedition or subversion against China; whereas John Lee in his 44 pages manifesto pledges to enact legislation to bolster the national security law;

K. whereas 1st July 2022 marks the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s transfer of sovereignty from British to Chinese rule;

 

1. Calls on the Hong Kong Government for the immediate and unconditional release and the dropping of all charges against the Cardinal Zen, the trustees of the 612 relief fund in Hong Kong and any other persons in relation with the 612 relief fund; demands full transparency and access to information regarding the conditions of their release on bail;

2.  Requests the Hong-Kong authorities to allow the 612 relief fund resuming its activities of financial, legal and humanitarian support to the persons who benefited from it;

3. Calls for the immediate and unconditional release and the dropping of all charges against the peaceful protesters and others who have been detained for political reasons in the last few years and those who remain in custody; firmly condemns the abusive use of pre-trial detention and solitary confinement against political prisoners and continues to stand with the people of Hong Kong and other regions affected by a similar controversial law in their fight for freedom and democracy; reiterates its support for the Hong Kong people, including their right to peacefully protest, the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ principle and the Sino-British Joint Declaration

4.  Calls on the EEAS and the Member States to fully apply the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders, including by requesting prison visits, observing and reporting on the trial, releasing public statements, appointing a human rights focal point among its staff for the Human Rights defenders and raising their cases with the authorities at all levels;

5. Notes that the arrest of Cardinal Joseph Zen is an attack on freedom of religion or belief in Hong Kong, as laid down in Article 18 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as Article 32 of the Basic Law, and follows the closure of over 60 civil society groups; expresses concern over the crackdown of religious freedom in Hong Kong;

6. Calls on the Vatican to issue emergency travel documents to Cardinal Zen and other religious leaders who face persecution or the possibility of arrest under the national security regime in Hong Kong; further calls on the Vatican to strengthen its diplomatic efforts and its leverage on Chinese authorities to demand Cardinal Zen’s unconditional release and the end of persecution and human rights violations in China

7. Praises the bravery of the Hong-Kong residents that keep standing up for their rights, notably at the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s transfer of sovereignty and the visit of Xi Jinping; urges the authorities of Hong-Kong to allow them peacefully protesting;

8.  Urges the Chinese authorities to repeal the National Security Laws (NSL) wherever there are in force, which are a breach of the PRC’s commitments and obligations under international law, namely the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the Sino-Portuguese Joint Declaration respectively; further urges the Hong Kong government to fully respect the rule of law, human rights, democratic principles and the high degree of autonomy under the ‘One country, two Systems’ principle, as enshrined in the Hong Kong Basic Law and in line with its domestic and international obligations, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;

9. Stresses that the election of John Lee Ka-Chiu has been held in blatant violation of the key democratic principles and political pluralism and in disregard of the citizens of Hong Kong’s right to universal suffrage; sees this selection process as yet another step in the dismantling of the ‘one country, two systems’ principle and as a result of the changes to the electoral law, which led to the elimination of political opposition; calls on the Hong Kong Chief Executive not to implement and enforce the NSL and to recommit to upholding the Basic Law, which guarantees freedom of association, freedom of assembly, freedom of expression and freedom of religion and belief;

10. Calls on the Hong Kong Chief Executive to renounce to the upcoming legislations on fake news and on national security in the framework of article 23 of the Basic Law; urges the authorities to ensure in any case that these upcoming legislations respect the freedoms to be protected in Hong-Kong until 2047 as enshrined in the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the Basic Law;

11. Recalls the EEAS to pay a particular attention on the deteriorating situation of rule of law and fundamental freedoms in Hong Kong and to individual situations of political prisoners; further calls on the Commission and the Member States to address the enforcement of the NSL as a top priority on the agenda of all EU-China meetings, including in diplomatic consultations in preparation for those meetings; call the EEAS, the Commission and the Member States to fully implement the Council Conclusions adopted in July 2020;

12. Calls on the EU institutions and the Member States to offer all needed support to the human rights activists in Hong Kong and to help safeguarding their rights, including notably through the issuing of emergency visas and by providing temporary shelter in EU Member States to those fleeing Hong-Kong; calls on the Chinese authorities to cease threatening, intimidation, harassment, reprisal, and espionage of Hong Kong diaspora communities, including human rights defenders, in EU member states.

13. Reiterates its call on the Council to introduce targeted financial and travel sanctions under the EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime against the Hong Kong and PRC officials responsible for the human rights crackdown; further reiterates its call on the remaining EU Member States to suspend active extradition treaties with the PRC and Hong Kong;

14. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to establish a group of independent experts to review the role of authorities in enforcing the National Security Law; urges the Commission and the Member States to increase the support for independent Hong Kong organizations, journalists and activists inside and outside the territory;

15. Supports the call by 50 United Nations human rights experts to establish a special mandate at the UN Human Rights Council to monitor and report on human rights conditions across China, including Hong Kong;

16. Reiterates its serious concerns about the various human rights abuses in China and recalls that full respect for universal values is essential;

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 Chief Executive and the Assembly of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

 

 

Last updated: 5 July 2022
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