Foreign ministers of 'Five Eyes' alliance express concern over Hong Kong

Nellie Chapman
November 19, 2020

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian on Thursday issued a stern warning to the Five Eyes intelligence group - an global intelligence-sharing bloc consisting of Australia, the UK, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States - after it condemned Beijing's move to disqualify four opposition leaders in the Hong Kong Legislative Council (LegCo).

David Mahon, a Kiwi who's been working in private equity investing in China for nearly three decades, told Heather du Plessis-Allan questions what the motive is for New Zealand to make this statement.

China denies curbing rights and freedoms in the global financial hub but authorities in Hong Kong and Beijing have moved swiftly to stifle dissent after anti-government protests flared in June previous year and plunged the city into crisis.

They also said the move harms the "One Country, Two Systems" and violates the Sino-British Joint Declaration.

He expressed his strong opposition to the statement issued on Wednesday by the foreign ministers of the US, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

China granted authorities fresh powers to curb dissent in Hong Kong, which triggered mass resignations by lawmakers opposed to closer ties with Beijing.

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Posts on the Facebook accounts of Ted Hui, Eddie Chu and Ray Chan say they have been arrested in relation to the incidents in the legislature's main chamber.

The latest row comes a week after Dominic Raab said the move by Beijing represented a "clear breach" of the declaration.

Zhao further noted that most countries expect civil servants to uphold existing law and pledge loyalty to the nation: "Civil servants must uphold their country's constitutional laws and honor the pledge of allegiance to the motherland, which is the basic political ethics in all countries, right?"

At the time, China's actions were also condemned by the U.S., the European Union and Australia, with Mr Raab saying the United Kingdom would work with its allies to hold Beijing to its obligations under worldwide law.

Beijing expelled four pro-democracy lawmakers from the former British colony's parliament last week.

The most recent previous occasion was a year ago when China imposed national security legislation, giving it sweeping powers to curtail protest and suppress dissent in the territory.

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