G7 issue joint statement after ‘erosion of democratic elements’ in Hong Kong elections

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Foreign Secretary Liz Truss. Picture by Simon Dawson / No 10 Downing Street

The UK along with its G7 partners have issued a statement following the Hong Kong legislative council elections.

Britain, the US and other western allies have expressed “grave concern over the erosion of democratic elements” in Sunday’s Hong Kong election after pro-Beijing candidates were confirmed to occupy nearly every seat in the former British colony’s new legislature.

The foreign ministers of Australia, Canada and New Zealand, the British foreign secretary and US secretary of state said in a statement:

“Since handover, candidates with diverse political views have contested elections in Hong Kong. Yesterday’s election has reversed this trend. These changes eliminated any political opposition.”

According to Chinese officials, the Government had urged the city’s 4.5 million registered voters to take part in the election by making public transport on Sunday free as well as sending out mass texts encouraging people to vote.

However only 30.2% of voters made it to the polls.

One woman, an accountant in her 20s, told the AFP news agency:

“My vote won’t mean anything because ultimately it’s Beijing’s people winning.”

The G7 have today issued the following statement:

We, the G7 Foreign Ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States of America and the High Representative of the European Union, noting the outcome of the Legislative Council elections in Hong Kong which took place on 19 December 2021, express our grave concern over the erosion of democratic elements of the Special Administrative Region’s electoral system.

The package of changes to the electoral system introduced earlier this year in Hong Kong, including reduction of the number of directly elected seats and establishment of a new vetting process to severely restrict the choice of candidates on the ballot paper, undermined Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy under the “One Country, Two Systems” principle.

We strongly reiterate our call on China to act in accordance with the Sino-British Joint Declaration and its other legal obligations and respect fundamental rights and freedoms in Hong Kong, as provided for in the Basic Law. We also call on China and the Hong Kong authorities to restore confidence in Hong Kong’s political institutions and end the unwarranted oppression of those who promote democratic values and the defense of rights and freedoms.

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