Back off, Brussels! China lashes out at EU – furious warning issued

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The European Parliament passed a resolution yesterday to bring China before the International Court of Justice over its decision to adopt the new law. In the resolution adopted on Friday by 565 votes to 34, with 62 abstentions, MEPs claim that China’s decision to impose national security legislation on Hong Kong violates the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

But China hit back today saying that the resolution “distorted the facts”.

You Wenze, spokesperson of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Chinese National People’s Congress, added that it amounted to “open interference” in Hong Kong affairs.

Mr Wenze said that the legal basis for China’s governance of Hong Kong was the Constitution and the Hong Kong Basic Law, not the “Sino-British Joint Declaration.”

He continued: “The Chinese Government’s unilaterally announced policies on Hong Kong in the Sino-British Joint Statement have been incorporated into the Hong Kong Basic Law, which has been fully and effectively implemented.

“There is no problem of the Chinese government not complying with the Sino-British Joint Statement.

“The Sino-British Joint Statement does not entrust Britain with any responsibility for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.”

Beijing announced details of a draft of the new national security legislation for Hong Kong earlier today paving the way for the most profound change to the city’s way of life since it returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

Beijing said the draft included a new national security office for Hong Kong to collect intelligence and handle crimes against national security, China’s state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

China says the law is aimed at tackling separatist activity, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces.

But critics fear it will crush wide-ranging freedoms that are seen as key to Hong Kong’s status as a global financial centre.

The European parliament’s resolutions are non-binding but the political signals they provide can steer policy.

It also called on the EU to consider possible economic sanctions on China.

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The resolution concluded that the parliament “believes that the EU should use its economic leverage to challenge China’s crackdown on human rights by economic means”.

The leaders of the EU institutions and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang are set to hold a summit by video on Monday to discuss the situation.

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