Friday (July 1) marks the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong´s return to China, and the second anniversary of the introduction of the so-called National Security Law. On 1 July, also, the newly selected Chief Executive of Hong Kong, John Lee, will assume office. Hong Kong needs the EU’s solidarity more than ever, warns MEP and China expert Reinhard Bütikofer (Greens/EFA):
“When Hong Kong re-joined China 25 years ago, after having been a British colony for a long time, this political experiment was accompanied by many hopes. Hong Kong was assured to be able to retain its lifestyle, its economic order, and its freedoms without restrictions for 50 years under Chinese sovereignty; it was even promised a democratic development.
Today hopes are dead, liberties are eliminated. Any democratic future is blocked, whereas the economy is put at the service of the Chinese Communist Party. The citizens of Hong Kong expressed their desire for freedom in 2019 in huge, mostly peaceful demonstrations, and in a landslide election victory for the democratic camp at the end of that year. In 2020, however, Beijing struck back. Since then, the National Security Law has been criminalizing even the idea of opposition. Democratic activists are in prison or have fled the city. Civil society´s self-organization is so hampered that even the largest trade union confederation had to give up.
Two years after Hong Kong´s transformation into a police state, the city’s new chief executive, who will take office on July 1, has announced that in the future opposition will be even more ruthlessly suppressed. But the self-efficacy that was experienced by millions of Hong Kongers who self-confidently demonstrated for their rights in 2019 cannot be erased, and international solidarity with Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement will not vanish. The European Parliament has repeatedly called for the EU to articulate its solidarity more strongly again. We demand refuge for persecuted Hong Kong citizens, a ban on extraditions to China from Europe, and sanctions against police state leader John Lee.”
With various actions in Brussels this week, we want to raise awareness of the situation in Hong Kong and keep alive the memory of Hong Kong’s freedoms and its democratic will.
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