G-7 Warns China’s Moves in Hong Kong Jeopardize City’s Success

Group of Seven foreign ministers urged China’s government to reconsider its plan to impose a new national-security law on Hong Kong, in a show of unity aimed at underscoring the Chinese leadership’s isolation over its moves in the former British colony.

The national security law “would jeopardize the system which has allowed Hong Kong to flourish and made it a success over many years,” the G-7 foreign ministers and the European Union’s high representative said in a statement Wednesday. “Open debate, consultation with stakeholders, and respect for protected rights and freedoms in Hong Kong are essential.”

G-7 Warns China’s Moves in Hong Kong Jeopardize City’s Success

The group, which includes the U.S., Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the U.K., said they were “extremely concerned” China’s actions would threaten the fundamental rights of Hong Kong’s citizens as well as the territory’s independent legal system.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters in Beijing Thursday that the country was “resolutely opposed” to the G-7’s statement and repeated that Hong Kong was an internal affair.

“All foreign governments, organizations and individuals have no rights to interfere,” Zhao said.

While the statement has little force on its own, it marked a show of unity for a group that was fractured recently after German Chancellor Angela Merkel balked at President Donald Trump’s proposal to hold a G-7 meeting in the U.S. Trump had also proposed that Russia join the meeting even thought it was previously kicked out of the group over its invasion of Ukraine.

Relations among the G-7 nations had also been strained after Trump announced without warning the U.K. and other allies that the U.S. was preparing to strip Hong Kong of some of its special trading privileges and to sanction some officials in response to Chinese plans for the national security law.

China’s legislature has approved a plan to draft legislation that Hong Kong democracy advocates say will curtail freedom of speech and undermine the island’s independent judiciary. Chinese leaders said the issue is a domestic affair and that overseas leaders are making misleading accusations about the legislation.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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