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China, EU trade threats over proposed new safety legislation in Hong Kong

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The European Union advised China on Monday to make good on a promise to open up its financial system and warned of “very negative consequences” if Beijing goes forward with a brand new safety legislation on Hong Kong that the West says will curtail fundamental rights.

European Fee president Ursula von der Leyen and European Council chief Charles Michel advised China’s prime leaders of their “grave concern” over the brand new legislation, which critics say will curb the monetary hub’s autonomy and freedoms.

The strict message, delivered throughout a video summit on Monday with Chinese language President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang, provides to a refrain of worldwide concern over Hong Kong, although Beijing has proven no signal of backing down on a legislation it says is critical to take care of order.

“We expressed our grave issues concerning the proposed nationwide safety legislation for Hong Kong,” Michel advised reporters after the talks.

“We called on China to follow the promises made to the people of Hong Kong and the international community regarding Hong Kong‘s high degree of autonomy and guaranteed freedoms.”

In response to the EU feedback, China’s international ministry stated Tuesday that issues referring to Hong Kong have been a “domestic affair”.

“We oppose any foreign interference in this matter,” ministry spokesman Wang Lutong advised reporters at a briefing, saying that Chinese language leaders had “expressed our position” on the video summit.

A report of the summit by China’s state information company Xinhua made no point out of Hong Kong however stated Xi had burdened his nation wished “peace with out hegemony“.

International ministers from the G7 group of industrialised nations final week urged Beijing to rethink the proposed legislation, which has raised issues it would finish Hong Kong’s relative freedoms and open the door to the type of repression seen in mainland China.

Echoing the language of the G7 assertion, von der Leyen stated that they had made it clear to the Chinese language that the EU believes the imposition of the nationwide safety legislation breaches Beijing’s worldwide commitments.

‘Very unfavorable penalties’ 

“The national security law risks seriously undermining the ‘one country, two systems’ principle and Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy, which we wish to see stay in place.”

Von der Leyen stated she had warned the Chinese language leaders that Hong Kong owes its financial success to its relative autonomy from Beijing.

“So we additionally conveyed that China dangers very unfavorable penalties if it goes ahead with imposing this legislation,” she stated.

Underneath the “One Country, Two Systems” settlement made earlier than Britain handed the territory again to China in 1997, Beijing agreed to let Hong Kong preserve sure liberties till 2047 — together with legislative and judicial independence and freedom of speech.

However after a 12 months of giant and sometimes violent rallies which have morphed into a well-liked name for democracy and police accountability, Beijing says the brand new legislation is required to finish unrest and restore stability.

China and the EU each profess to wish to strengthen ties, however the relationship is tangled in a thicket of disagreements on matters starting from commerce and funding guidelines to human rights and nationwide safety.

And Monday’s talks got here towards a backdrop of rising tensions and growing distrust between Brussels and Beijing.

Cyber complaints 

The EU has been angered by what it says is a major Chinese language marketing campaign of disinformation across the coronavirus pandemic, which originated in China.

“We have seen cyber attacks on hospitals and dedicated computing centres. Likewise we’ve seen a rise on online disinformation, and we pointed out clearly that this cannot be tolerated,” von der Leyen stated.

The EU has in latest months sought to tread a fragile path with China, characterising it as a “systemic rival” and competitor but in addition as a accomplice on some points.

However Monday’s statements have been sharper and extra vital in tone.

To date the EU’s efforts to face as much as Xi’s more and more assertive China have been stymied by a scarcity of unity amongst its 27 member states, a lot of which have been courted assiduously by the Asian big.

Going into the summit, Chinese language officers grumbled about proposed new EU laws aimed toward guaranteeing international corporations backed by heavy state subsidies don’t distort competitors in Europe.

There’s specific concern about Chinese language firms swooping in to purchase European firms weakened by the coronavirus-triggered recession.

In keeping with Xinhua, Xi stated the economies of China and Europe ought to turn out to be a “dual engine of the world economy” to advertise restoration after the pandemic.


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By Punit Nirankari

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