Australia Condemns National Security Law in Hong Kong, Expresses Concern

Australia on Wednesday expressed deep concern about the new national security law China has imposed on Hong Kong.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne said in a statement that the law threatens Hong Kongs judicial independence and the rights and freedoms of Hong Kong residents.

“Australia joins many international partners in expressing our deep concern about Beijings imposition of a National Security Law on Hong Kong,” Payne said.

The national security law went into effect late June 30 after ceremonial votes by Chinas rubber-stamp legislature, the National Peoples Congress (NPC). The law criminalizes individuals for any acts of subversion, secession, terrorism, and collusion with foreign forces, with maximum penalties of life imprisonment.

“This decision to impose the law undermines the One Country Two Systems framework and the citys high degree of autonomy guaranteed in the legally binding Sino-British Joint Declaration and Hong Kongs Basic Law,” Payne noted in her statement.

Statement on Hong Kong. ⬇

— Marise Payne (@MarisePayne) June 30, 2020

Hong Kong was handed back from British colonial rule to Chinese sovereignty in 1997 with the express guarantee under the Sino-British Joint Declaration that the citys high degree of autonomy and essential freedoms would be preserved under the principle of “one country, two systems” until 2047.

Payne said that “Australia is troubled by the laws implications for Hong Kongs judicial independence, and on the rights and freedoms enjoyed by the people of Hong Kong, both of which underpin the citys success.”

“That this decision was made without the direct participation of Hong Kongs people, legislature or judiciary is a further cause for concern,” she continued. “The people of Hong Kong will make their own assessments of how this decision will affect their citys future. The eyes of the world will remain on Hong Kong.”

hong kong protesters
hong kong protesters
Protesters occupying a road run after hearing police are approaching during a rally against a new national security law in Hong Kong on July 1, 2020. (Alastair Pike/AFP via Getty Images)

Payne said that Australia has a “substantial stake” in Hong Kongs success and that the city is home to Australias largest commercial presence in Asia. It is also one of Australias largest expatriate communities globally, she added.

She signalled Australias commitment to strengthen ties with Hong Kong.

“We also continue to recognise the great contribution that people from Hong KoRead More – Source