The chairs of eight parliamentary foreign affairs committees from across Europe have written to the Chinese government in opposition to Hong Kong’s new security law, saying it infringes on “basic human rights” in their countries.
The joint statement by the committee chairs – from countries including Germany, the UK, Belgium, Latvia, Norway and the European parliament itself – shows a network of parliamentarians is being constructed to shift European governments towards a harder stance on China.
The politicians claim European public opinion has lost faith in China due to the way in which it has intervened to impose a new security law, which gives Beijing unprecedented powers, without consulting the people of Hong Kong.
The law, which came into effect at the end of June, says secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces are punishable with a maximum sentence of life in prison, and allows mainland security agents to operate in Hong Kong for the first time.
The parliamentarians, including the chair of the UK foreign affairs select committee, Tom Tugendhat, and the chair of the German Bundestag foreign affairs committee, Norbert Rttgen, said “the law is not a product of the city’s own institutions but is imposed by Beijing, and as such constitutes a breach of the 1984 Sino-British joint declaration, which is lodged with the United Nations”.
They added: “The law raises significant concern that judicial independence is being undermined by empowering Hong Kong’s chief executive rather than its chief justice to appoint judges to hear national security cases. This threatens civil rights and commercial stability.
“Hong Kong’s autonomy and independent judiciary have guaranteed the personal rights and freedoms of its people for decades and made the territory an important keystone in the international trading system. Given their rights and the importance of Hong Kong, this cannot be seen as a purely domestic affair. In breaching a legally binding agreement and undermining the rule of law, this also undermines the good faith among nations who enter into international agreements”.
The authors defended their right to take an interest in Hong Kong by pointing out that article 38 of the new law “seeks to violate the sovereignty of other nations”. The article says the law applies to acts committed “outside the region” by foreigners who are not residents of Hong Kong or China.
infringe: to break a law or rule 违背，触犯（法规）
parliamentarian: a Member of Parliament who is an expert on the rules and procedures of Parliament and takes an active part in debates 资深议员
stance: attitude, opinion 态度，立场，观点
intervene: to become involved in a situation in order to improve or help it 出面，介入
impose: to introduce a new law, rule, tax, etc.; to order that a rule, punishment, etc. be used 推行，采用，强制实行
unprecedented: that has never happened, been done or been known before 前所未有的，空前的，没有先例的
secession: the fact of an area or group becoming independent from the country or larger group that it belongs to 退出，脱离
subversion: the attempt to weaken or destroy a political system or a government 颠覆，暗中破坏
collusion: secret or illegal co-operation, especially between countries or organizations 共谋，勾结，串通
constitute: to be considered to be sth（被认为或看做）是，被算作 to be the parts that together form sth 组成，构成
breach: a failure to do sth that must be done by law（对法规等的）违背，违犯
lodge: If you lodge a complaint, protest, accusation, or claim, you officially make it. （正式）提出
judicial: connected with a court, a judge or legal judgement 法庭，法官的，审判的，司法的
undermine: to make sth, especially sb’s confidence or authority, gradually weaker or less effective 逐渐削弱，使逐步减少效力
autonomy: the freedom for a country, a region or an organization to govern itself independently 自治，自治权
judiciary: the judges of a country or a state 审判人员，司法部，司法系统
keystone: A keystone of a policy, system, or process is an important part of it, which is the basis for later developments. 基础，主旨
binding: that must be obeyed because it is accepted in law 必须遵守的，有法律约束力的