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Procedure : 2021/2505(RSP)
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RC-B9-0068/2021

Debates :

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

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Texts adopted :

P9_TA(2021)0027

Debates
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Thursday, 21 January 2021 - Brussels Provisional edition

7.1. The crackdown on the democratic opposition in Hong Kong
Video of the speeches
PV
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  Przewodnicząca. – Kolejnym punktem porządku dnia jest debata nad siedmioma projektami rezolucji w sprawie represji wobec opozycji demokratycznej w Hongkongu (2021/2505(RSP)).

 
  
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  Marco Campomenosi, autore. – Signora Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, ringrazio la signora Commissaria Dalli per essere qui con noi oggi, perché la situazione a Hong Kong è molto grave.

Il concetto, che noi abbiamo a lungo difeso, di un paese e due sistemi è concretamente in pericolo: credo che su questo molti colleghi siano d'accordo con me e credo che tutte le risoluzioni presentate dai gruppi vadano nella stessa direzione. Avvocati, giornalisti, attivisti politici e giovani vengono privati della loro libertà soprattutto a seguito dell'entrata in vigore della legge sulla sicurezza nazionale che mette in pericolo l'autonomia di Hong Kong, che era difesa dall'accordo di uscita della Gran Bretagna stipulato fra Gran Bretagna e Cina.

Quindi invito alla collaborazione proprio con il Regno Unito e con l'Amministrazione americana che, immagino, seguirà un po' il passo sui rapporti con la Cina seguito dall'Amministrazione uscente.

E poi non posso che sottolineare, come membro della commissione per il commercio internazionale, il disagio che molti di noi hanno subito, anche molti governi, rispetto a un'accelerazione nella conclusione del negoziato sugli investimenti fra UE e Cina, che ci ha un po' sorpreso alla fine dell'anno. Non era probabilmente il momento giusto per concedere alla Cina un risultato di questo tipo.

Concludo con le parole di un missionario da quarant'anni in Cina, Franco Mella, che protesta da tempo di fronte alle carceri dove sono rinchiusi molti attivisti e che ci invita a non far perdere la speranza a queste persone.

 
  
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  Manu Pineda, autor. – Señora presidenta, no voy a entrar desde aquí en el fondo del debate, porque entiendo que ni para los que lo han impulsado es importante. Tienen ustedes acceso al texto que hemos presentado.

Se trae aquí por enésima vez el tema de Hong Kong, que dejó de ser una colonia europea hace ya treinta años. Es solo una excusa. En cada Pleno se encuentra una para hablar sobre China.

Este debate refleja la vocación colonial de algunos grupos que actúan como si Europa aún fuera la metrópoli que puede imponer sus decisiones a China, y ponen su servilismo a Estado Unidos por encima de los intereses de los trabajadores y empresas europeos.

No parece muy inteligente agredir e insultar a la República Popular China en cada Pleno. Si realmente queremos construir un mundo multipolar, necesitamos estrechar nuestras relaciones con Pekín. Porque los peligros del actual modelo unilateral los conocen bien, por ejemplo, los 12 000 trabajadores y trabajadoras de Airbus en Europa que pueden quedarse en la calle por el chantaje de Estados Unidos al sector aeroespacial europeo.

La Nueva Ruta de la Seda, un proyecto que parece destinado a transformar cómo los países se relacionan entre sí, nos brinda una oportunidad que no deberíamos despreciar. Es urgente pasar del actual modelo, en el que el más fuerte se apropia de los recursos ajenos imponiendo su ley, a uno basado en el beneficio mutuo y las relaciones horizontales.

Celebramos el acuerdo estratégico Unión Europea-China y esperamos que, frente a los exabruptos de algunos de aquí, podamos seguir trabajando por un orden global basado en el Derecho internacional, la lucha contra el cambio climático, la paz y la soberanía de los pueblos.

 
  
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  Nathalie Loiseau, auteur. – Madame la Présidente, en quelques semaines, nous avons appris beaucoup de choses sur la Chine. Nous avons appris que le Parti communiste chinois a peur de la liberté, même dans un petit territoire de 7 millions d'habitants, Hong Kong. Le pouvoir chinois préfère la liberté de réprimer à la liberté de s'exprimer.

Nous avons appris que la Chine ne respectait pas ses engagements internationaux sur Hong Kong, pris au titre de la déclaration conjointe avec le Royaume-Uni. Nous avons appris que le parti communiste chinois a peur de la transparence. Combien de temps et quelle négociation difficile a-t-il fallu pour que l'OMS puisse envoyer enfin une mission à Wuhan pour enquêter sur les origines de la pandémie de la COVID-19, dont la dimension planétaire et les conséquences désastreuses justifient pourtant que toute la lumière soit faite partout où c'est nécessaire? Nous avons appris enfin que la Chine nie l'évidence, celle du sort atroce réservé au peuple ouïghour.

Tout cela, nous l'avons appris sans aucun doute possible au moment même où la Chine conclut avec l'Union européenne un accord sur les investissements. Cet accord suscite chez nombre d'entre nous des doutes, car ce que nous avons appris, nous ne pourrons pas en faire abstraction, car dans cet accord, il y a un texte que nous attendons encore, mais il y a aussi un contexte. Et dans ce Parlement, il y a une démocratie, la démocratie européenne qui s'exprime et qui dira ce qu'elle a à dire.

 
  
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  Bert-Jan Ruissen, Auteur. – Voorzitter, commissaris, het wordt steeds duidelijker dat China de draconische nieuwe veiligheidswet in Hongkong gebruikt om de democratische oppositie monddood te maken en de vrijheden van de Hongkongers ernstig in te perken. Onder het mom van “het tegengaan van staatsondermijnend gedrag” wordt iedereen die zich kritisch uitlaat, het zwijgen opgelegd. Hoe ver gaat dit nog door?

In China hebben religieuze minderheden het zwaar te verduren door aanklachten op basis van de nationale veiligheidswet. Gaat deze inperking van religieuze vrijheden ook werkelijkheid worden in Hongkong? Dat is onze grote vrees. De EU moet samen met de internationale gemeenschap de handen ineenslaan en krachtig stelling nemen. Dus niet een investeringsakkoord sluiten met daarin vage beloftes over mensenrechten op het moment dat de mensenrechtensituatie in China in het diepste dal zit sinds decennia. Maar gerichte acties nemen tegen alle verantwoordelijken voor de schendingen van fundamentele rechten van Hongkongers en Chinezen.

 
  
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  Evelyne Gebhardt, Verfasserin. – Frau Präsidentin! Die Entwicklungen in Hongkong müssen uns wachrütteln. Die Unterdrückung der Oppositionsbewegung und das strukturierte Vorgehen gegen prodemokratische Organisationen sind ein massiver Eingriff in die Grundrechte der Bevölkerung Hongkongs.

Die chinesischen Behörden untergraben damit die vereinbarte Autonomie der Sonderverwaltungszone immens. Es ist bezeichnend, dass das nationale Sicherheitsgesetz genutzt wird, um unliebsame Personen festzunehmen und die Meinungsfreiheit zu zensieren.

Mit der heutigen Entschließung hat das Europäische Parlaments seine Position untermauert, dass das Vorgehen der Machthaber in China und der Verwaltung Hongkongs nicht unbeobachtet bleibt. Wir beharren darauf, dass das nationale Sicherheitsgesetz, das mit seinen weitreichenden Kompetenzen die Grundrechte der Hongkonger Verfassung massiv beschneidet, zurückgenommen werden muss. Zusätzlich müssen alle der zu Unrecht inhaftierten Oppositionellen unverzüglich freigelassen werden und die auf dem nationalen Sicherheitsgesetz basierenden Vorwürfe fallen gelassen werden.

Im Hinblick auf den steigenden Druck auf die demokratischen Kräfte in Hongkong muss der Rat als nächste Maßnahme gezielte Sanktionen gegen die Entscheidungsträger in der Hongkonger Verwaltung in Betracht ziehen. Und wir erwarten, dass die Fragen der Grundrechte auch bei den kommenden Abkommen mit China zum Tragen kommen. Denn Handel ist wichtig, ja, aber nicht um jeden Preis.

 
  
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  Jordi Solé, author. – Madam President, we stand by the people of Hong Kong, by the many struggling for democracy, for their fundamental rights and for the right to keep enjoying a high degree of sub-government. It has become crystal clear that China is overly using the national security law as an instrument to suppress dissent and political pluralism.

We have witnessed incarcerations, disqualification of lawmakers, pressure of the media and even prosecution abroad. All this in clear violation of the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the basic law. It’s time for the EU to take further actions, for instance, by using the new human rights sanctions regime.

And, one last remark. With increasing human rights violations happening in China, rushing to reach an agreement on investments as the Council did, might harm our credibility as a global human rights actor. When scrutinising the agreement and voting on it, this Parliament cannot ignore the worrying situation of human rights in China.

 
  
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  Miriam Lexmann, author. – Madam President, let me first of all thank colleagues from all across the political groups for the excellent cooperation on this urgency resolution.

Article 21 of the EU Treaties clearly states that the Union’s external action shall be guided by the values and principles on which the Union was founded – in particular, democracy, rule of law, the universality of human rights, fundamental freedoms, and respect for human dignity.

Dear colleagues, the Chinese Communist Party and its collaborators in Hong Kong continue to strip away the city’s high degree of autonomy and suppress Hong Kongers’ freedoms, including political rights. They are using the so—called ‘National Security Law’ as a pretext to destroy Hong Kong’s democracy and put in jail pro—democratic activists and politicians.

These developments are highly worrying. It is no longer sufficient to be concerned. We also have to learn a lesson that pure economic engagement is not a way of supporting democracy and human rights, as we used to think. If the Union wants to be a credible actor, and truly engage in value—based foreign policy, we must use our economic position as the leverage to support those who are oppressed, rather than to reward human rights abusers. Otherwise, we might become morally co—responsible for these crimes and abuses.

To support the people of Hong Kong, our steps must include: implementing the July 2020 Council Conclusions on Hong Kong, including the lifeboat scheme, suspension of extradition treaties and support for civil society; using the Magnitsky Act to sanction Carrie Lam and other Chinese and Hong Kong officials; and make it clear to the Chinese Communist Party that this House will take human rights into consideration when asked to endorse the investment agreement and any future agreement with China and other regimes supressing human rights.

It is time for the European Union to act. It is time to defend freedom. It is time to stand with Hong Kong.

 
  
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  Seán Kelly, on behalf of the PPE Group. – Madam President, good morning, Brussels and good morning, Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong police arrested 53 representatives of the democratic opposition and activists on charges of subversion under the national security law for Hong Kong, freezing many assets relating to these individuals. This is the latest in a long series of arrests of the democratic opposition and other actions aimed at undermining democratic institutions in Hong Kong. It’s not just on the streets where censorship is taking place, but over the internet as pro-democracy websites are blocked, further limiting freedom of expression and access to information, which have damaging consequences for both civil liberties and democracy. The unilateral introduction of national security legislation by the Government in Beijing is an attack on the city of Hong Kong’s autonomy, rule of law and fundamental freedoms, and degrades the integrity of one country, two systems, which is a breach of China’s commitments and obligations under international law.

With my colleague, Barry Andrews, I would also like to highlight the case of Richard O’Halloran, an Irish citizen and father of four from Dublin, who has been refused permission to leave China since March 2019. Richard has not been arrested, charged or personally accused of any wrongdoing; he was just unfortunate enough to be caught up in an investigation into another individual, whom he had never met during the period on which to investigation is focused. I would call on the Chinese Government to allow Mr O’Halloran to come home as there is no legitimate reason for him to be kept against his will.

I also call on the Chinese Government to listen carefully to what the Members of Parliament are saying today and to act accordingly. That is in the best interests of everybody and good relations with the European Union. Good morning and the best of luck to the people of Hong Kong.

 
  
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  Isabel Santos, em nome do Grupo S&D. – Senhora Presidente, os piores receios expressos nesta Câmara há 7 meses realizaram-se. A entrada em vigor da Lei de Segurança Nacional no território de Hong Kong causou uma vertiginosa degradação dos direitos e das liberdades fundamentais dos habitantes da região.

Desde então, e apenas neste curto espaço de tempo, mais de 400 políticos ativistas foram alvo de intimidações, detenções arbitrárias e condenações. Chamo a vossa atenção para o caso dos 12 militantes pró-democracia capturados pela China, dos quais 10 foram condenados a pena de prisão por travessia ilegal das águas continentais. Entre esses encontra-se Tsz Lun Kok, um jovem cidadão de Hong Kong, também com nacionalidade portuguesa, logo, cidadão europeu.

Junto a minha voz à do Alto Representante no pedido da imediata libertação de todos estes jovens, mas impõe-se à União Europeia uma abordagem firme e sem tréguas, com consequências, de todas as violações de direitos humanos em Hong Kong e também na China continental, no Tibete e em Xinjiang.

 
  
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  Svenja Hahn, on behalf of the Renew Group. – Madam President, we parliamentarians have been very vocal. We support the people of Hong Kong fearlessly standing up for their democracy. The democracy that is being cracked down on by China day by day, with the utmost disrespect for the struggle for freedom, by breaking international law.

It’s time that the Commission and the Member States acted. It’s time you turned words into action. So, here’s a reminder: work with the US towards defending liberal democracy against a systemic rival. Use the human rights mechanism to sanction responsible individuals in China and their accomplices in Hong Kong. Insist that civil and political rights are restored. The democratic opposition must be freed and allowed to run in the next elections.

Brave people of Hong Kong, the European Parliament will keep fighting for you with the tools of democracy that you are deprived of. Freedom will prevail. We stand by your side.

 
  
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  Gunnar Beck, on behalf of the ID Group. – Madam President, this House has a habit of debating matters in faraway places of which we know little and about which we can do nothing. Human rights in Hong Kong is such a topic and for once, you’re right. The situation does raise concerns. Yet as we speak, the EU is concluding a new investment treaty with China, and Germany depends on exports to China to bankroll the euro area. The EU cannot even afford imposing sanctions on China. So why are we discussing human rights in Hong Kong at all?

The EU is censoring free speech and social media are silencing dissent. Some Member States are imprisoning their own citizens for holding referenda. Others don’t allow referenda at all, and in Germany the biggest opposition party is placed under surveillance for opposing immigration in a year of major elections, and in Germany too, a law is passed to punish vilification of the EU’s flag and symbols, with three years in prison.

Countries used to start wars to overcome internal strife and dissent. Today, the West finds fault with the rest to exert soft power, yet Western liberal democracy is no longer liberal and long ceased to be democratic. The West is trying to pull a trick that’s no longer working.

 
  
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  Reinhard Bütikofer, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group. – Madam President, this resolution that we’re debating sends one clear central message: the European Parliament will continue to stand with Hong Kong. We’re underscoring this stance by clearly saying that the EU must act upon our words. We must make use of the newly introduced global human rights sanctions mechanism to sanction those people, including in particular Carrie Lam, that are violating human rights in Hong Kong. When we debate the EU—China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI), we will take human rights into account, and I can’t see how the present text suffices to our standards.

One last sentence to some panda huggers from ID and GUE: if you hate your own political system so much that you think you have to find excuses for acting on behalf of a foreign aggressive power, that’s not positive, that’s not progressive, that is despicable.

 
  
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  Ryszard Czarnecki, w imieniu grupy ECR. – Pani Przewodnicząca! Pani Komisarz! Szanowne Panie i Szanowni Panowie Posłowie! Dwukrotnie byłem w Hongkongu już w czasie, kiedy była to część Chińskiej Republiki Ludowej, aczkolwiek oczywiście z dużą autonomią. Przypomnę też – bo to nie wybrzmiało w dotychczasowych wystąpieniach – że w naszym Parlamencie istnieje specjalna grupa przyjaźni EU Hong Kong Friendship Group. Mam zaszczyt być jej członkiem. Myślę, że szczególne prawo do krytyki tego, co dzieje się w Hongkongu, mają ci politycy, te osoby publiczne, które krytykowały fakt, że w czasach, gdy Hongkong był częścią imperium brytyjskiego, gubernatora mianowała brytyjska królowa. Ci, którzy tego nie robili wtedy, dzisiaj, szczerze mówiąc, brzmią nieco hipokrytycznie. Uważam, że trzeba działać na rzecz praw człowieka w Hongkongu. To rzecz oczywista.

 
  
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  Emmanuel Maurel, au nom du groupe The Left. – Madame la Présidente, un pays, deux systèmes, c’était l’engagement que la Chine avait pris devant la communauté internationale au moment de la rétrocession de Hong Kong en 1997.

Cet engagement n’a pas été respecté, cette parole n’a pas été tenue, mais on ne découvre rien. Ce n’est pas la première fois que la Chine viole délibérément les règles qu’elle s’était engagée à respecter. C’est le cas à l’OMC ou à l’OMS et ce le sera aussi demain à l’OIT. Et malgré cela, des dirigeants européens pourtant si prompts à dénoncer les dictatures étrangères détournent le regard, soit parce qu’ils considèrent qu’on peut faire confiance aveuglément à la Chine - et ils se trompent -, soit parce qu’ils sont cyniques et considèrent que la taille et la richesse du pays justifient cette amnésie collective. Et c’est le cas au moment où on signe un accord d’investissement en catimini.

Ce n’est pas seulement une erreur économique, c’est aussi une faute politique au regard de la situation à Hong Kong, au regard du sort des Ouïgours persécutés, au regard aussi des lanceurs d’alerte de Wuhan qui ont été réduits au silence. Alors, il faut que l’Europe se réveille et qu’elle cesse de fermer les yeux.

 
  
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  Fabio Massimo Castaldo (NI). – Signora Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, già il 30 giugno 2020, data in cui la tristemente nota national security law veniva imposta dalle autorità di Pechino, uno dei volti più conosciuti degli attivisti dell'ex colonia britannica, Joshua Wong, ci avvisava che questa avrebbe rappresentato la fine di Hong Kong e l'inizio del terrore.

Da allora, infatti, la situazione non ha fatto che peggiorare: da dicembre Joshua è per l'ennesima volta in carcere, insieme a molti altri attivisti, e poche settimane fa abbiamo assistito all'arresto da parte del governo di 53 politici pro-democrazia sulla base delle disposizioni estremamente ampie e vaghe di questa legge draconiana.

Gli abitanti di Hong Kong hanno espresso chiaramente le loro richieste pacifiche di libertà e di autonomia ma le autorità hanno sempre scelto di rispondere con una repressione e una violenza crescenti, e la totale asimmetria di potere fra Pechino e Hong Kong rende questa situazione ancora più complessa.

La mia domanda è, allora, come abbiamo fatto a dimenticare questo tema nell'ultimo accordo sugli investimenti con la Cina? Come abbiamo permesso che il nostro impegno divenisse retorico? Questa lotta di Hong Kong non è soltanto una lotta che appartiene alla popolazione ivi residente, è una lotta di tutti coloro che credono nella democrazia e nella difesa dei diritti umani a livello globale.

 
  
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  Juan Fernando López Aguilar (S&D). – Señora presidenta, ayer la amplia mayoría de este Parlamento Europeo celebró como una buena noticia y una ventana de esperanza la llegada de Biden a la Casa Blanca y celebró la salida de Trump, cuya negación a la cooperación con la Unión Europea y al multilateralismo es seguramente el contexto de la autonomía estratégica, la diplomacia de la Unión Europea de la que trae causa el Acuerdo global de inversiones que la Unión Europea firma con China en diciembre de 2020.

Pero en ningún caso ese contexto puede perjudicar la apuesta clara de la Unión Europea por los derechos humanos y su protesta ante la detención arbitraria e ilegal de periodistas, estudiantes, abogados de derechos humanos y candidatos a las elecciones locales, que viola claramente el Derecho internacional, el acuerdo sino-británico de 1984 y el estatuto de Región Especial para Hong Kong concedido por China en 1997, que le garantiza elecciones plurales y un poder judicial independiente.

Y, por tanto, este es el momento en que el Parlamento Europeo tiene que alzar la voz para decir que ningún acuerdo puede justificar mirar hacia otro lado. Y que este Parlamento toma muy en serio su apuesta democrática por los derechos humanos. En China y en todas partes.

 
  
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  Bernard Guetta (Renew). – Madame la Présidente, appelons un chat un chat. En débattant ce matin de la répression politique à Hong Kong, nous parlons d’une puissance ascendante qui s’assied sur l’accord «un pays, deux systèmes», détient un million de Ouïghours en camp de travail forcé, menace Taïwan, se projette en mer de Chine méridionale et affirme sans honte que la dictature serait préférable à la liberté.

Pour la démocratie, le régime de M. Xi est un défi à nul autre pareil, et se pose donc à nous la question de l’accord sur les investissements. Nous débattrons des mois durant de ses clauses économiques et de son principe même mais notre devoir politique, à nous, parlementaires, est de dire dès maintenant à M. Xi, que nous ne pourrons en aucun cas ratifier cet accord tant que son régime n’aura pas ratifié les conventions internationales contre le travail forcé.

C’est une condition sine qua non sur laquelle nous pouvons nous accorder en un rien de temps. Alors mes chers collègues, faisons-le! Ce clair message, délivrons-le maintenant!

 
  
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  Yannick Jadot (Verts/ALE). – Madame la Présidente, chers collègues, cette résolution dit combien le Parlement européen ne s’est jamais résigné à la répression à Hong Kong et dans le reste de la Chine. C’est aussi un terrible aveu d’échec puisque malgré nos dénonciations, jamais la dictature n’a été aussi brutale, violente, cynique en Chine.

Et puisqu’on parle de cynisme, comment accepter qu’Angela Merkel et Emmanuel Macron oublient la pire dictature du monde, oublient ses dénonciations, oublient les valeurs de l’Europe pour vendre des voitures, des maisons privées de santé ou des systèmes de surveillance? Chers collègues, on ne peut pas d’un côté dénoncer un régime politique et, de l’autre, faire des affaires en cynisme.

Ce Parlement aujourd’hui ne doit pas simplement s’interroger sur l’accord d’investissement avec la Chine: il doit le dénoncer! C’est une erreur de souveraineté démocratique, économique, numérique, énergétique de l’Europe. C’est, comme cela a été dit, une faute politique! Donc suspendons dès maintenant toute discussion, toute négociation avec la Chine.

 
  
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  Assita Kanko (ECR). – Madam President, when it comes to human rights, the EU has two faces. It’s happy to issue statements of concern, passing its judgment on countries around the world, but our support for democracy and human rights is less vociferous when it comes to selling German cars.

Brave young men and women stand on the front lines of the battle between freedom and autocracy. They include Joshua Wong, Agnes Chow and Ivan Lam, currently in jail for defending the democracy that we all take for granted here. What are we doing to support them? What signal are we sending to them, when we close our eyes and sign an investment agreement with the very regime that is trampling over democracy in its neighbourhood, murdering Uighurs and threatening democratic Taiwan? What actions will the EU take regarding that investment agreement with China if the PRC continues to break human rights and international labour laws?

Know that Hong Kong is a test of the resolve of the free world. Right now, the EU is shamefully failing that test and I deeply feel ashamed for that?

 
  
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  Clara Ponsatí Obiols (NI). – Madam President, the democracy movement of Hong Kong has the genuine sympathy and solidarity of the Catalans. Their fight against authoritarianism for democracy and self-determination is our fight.

But the people of Hong Kong are enduring massive arrests, exile, the criminalisation of fundamental rights like the freedom of assembly and interference in their electoral processes — this is all too familiar to us as well.

While Beijing crushes democracy in Hong Kong, what message do they get from the EU? A rushed conclusion to the investment agreement! This sends a very clear message that human rights and violations are perhaps unpleasant, but they are not going to be an obstacle for businesses.

The EU must stop sending these mixed messages, just paying lip service to their commitment to democracy and human rights. This Parliament must put on hold the EU investment agreement, and this Parliament must support the Uighur people and declare it a genocide.

 
  
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  Evin Incir (S&D). – Madam President, the Chinese regime never hesitates to violate human rights and international law. The case of Hong Kong is one of the many violations of human rights and international law. The speedy deterioration in Hong Kong is worrying. The oppressive Chinese regime must immediately release all political prisoners, including the immediate and unconditional release of the opposition members of the Parliament of Hong Kong and also the release of the Swedish bookseller Gui Minhai in prison in the PRC.

Introduction of the national security legislation in Hong Kong is a shame. The ‘one country, two systems’ principle must be respected. It is time for the EU and the Member States to act. How much more should the people of Hong Kong suffer until the world acts? It shouldn’t matter how big a country is geographically, demographically or economically: human rights and international law are universal and must always apply.

 
  
  

PRESIDÊNCIA: PEDRO SILVA PEREIRA
Vice-Presidente

 
  
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  Markéta Gregorová (Verts/ALE). – Mr President, China has shown us enough. It showed us everything we Europeans fought in the past: concentration camps, genocide, taking one’s country for its own, sending people to jail for their opinions, creating causes to subdue the population. Ring any bells?

Let me apologise to Hong Kong citizens for talking mainly about China when all our eyes should be on you. But this is simply not enough. We have another resolution condemning Beijing’s actions, while our EU colleagues are shaking hands with Xi Jinping, striking pompous investment deals. Later today, we will talk about the deteriorating situation in Vietnam.

Some tried to persuade me last year that a trade deal would help human rights. Man, were they wrong. Are we really making the same mistake again? Do you really not care? Ms von der Leyen, Mr Macron, Ms Merkel, Mr Michel, this is not my European Union. Our values are not for sale.

 
  
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  Helena Dalli, Member of the Commission. – Mr President, thank you to the honourable Members of this Parliament. The situation in Hong Kong is deteriorating very fast, as you all rightly pointed out. On 6 January, the authorities conducted mass arrests under the National Security Law. The 53 arrested stand accused of subversion for participating in the pro—democracy primary elections held in July 2020. The criminalisation of legitimate political activity is aimed at stifling pluralism, pro—democracy voices and the exercise of political and fundamental freedoms in Hong Kong.

The arrests on 14 January of 11 individuals implicated in the attempted escape to Taiwan of 12 Hong Kongers further compounds the impression that the criminal justice system is being deployed to punish dissent. Since the imposition of the national security legislation by Beijing over Hong Kong, the EU has conveyed with the great unity its strong concerns publicly in a serious of declarations and directly to the Chinese leadership at the summit in June and the leaders’ meeting in September. The leaders’ meeting of December was not only the occasion to conclude negotiations in principle on a comprehensive agreement on investment with China but also to raise concern on Hong Kong.

The EU will continue to stand firm on its values and principles, while pursuing its interests. And the same effort in July, the Council adopted an EU response package comprising a mix of measures at EU and national level, such as further scrutinising exports of sensitive equipment, suspending extradition agreements, stepping up scholarships and academic exchanges, further engaging with civil society and observing trials of pro—democracy activists. There is consensus on continuing to apply the measures and to consider additional steps in case of further deterioration.

Unity and solidarity continue to prevail. We cannot let any Member State, any citizen, any Member of Parliament be singled out with respect to Hong Kong, Xinjiang or more broadly, China. By calling for the release of Swedish citizen, Gui Minhai, the EU will continue to stand firm on protecting its citizens.

Coordination with like—minded democracies on Hong Kong and addressing other challenges brought along by China will continue to be a cornerstone of our approach. Hong Kong remains high on our political agenda and will be discussed at the upcoming Foreign Affairs Council on 25 January.

 
  
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  Presidente. – O debate está encerrado. A votação realizar-se-á a seguir aos debates.

 
Last updated: 22 February 2021Legal notice - Privacy policy