EU to debate enacting export controls on tech ‘used to violate basic rights’ in Hong Kong

Photo: Todd R. Darling/HKFP. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

HONG KONG, Jul 18, 2019, HKFP. The European Parliament is to debate a resolution on the situation in Hong Kong on Thursday, calling for “appropriate export control mechanisms” to deny access to technologies that could be used to violate human rights, reported the Hong Kong Free Press.

The resolution was jointly proposed by several groups across the political spectrum, including the Greens–European Free Alliance, the European Conservatives and Reformists, the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, the European People’s Party, and the Renew Europe group.

They called upon Hong Kong to completely withdraw the controversial extradition bill, which has sparked weeks of protest and unrest. The group called for an immediate release of peaceful protesters and for charges against them to be dropped. In line with demonstrators’ demands, they also urged for an independent investigation into the use of force by the Hong Kong police, as well as universal suffrage for the city under the Basic Law.

The proposed resolution “calls for the EU, its Member States and the international community to work towards the imposition of appropriate export control mechanisms to deny China, and in particular Hong Kong, access to technologies used to violate basic rights.”

The proposed resolution states that the European Parliament should strongly condemn “the constant and increasing interference by China in Hong Kong’s internal affairs.”

It refutes claims by China that the Sino-British Joint Declaration of 1984 is a historic and invalid document, and said that Beijing is still bound in its duty to uphold Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy and its rights and freedoms.

It also expresses concern over the “steady deterioration of civil rights, political rights and press freedom” in Hong Kong.

“[The European Parliament] is deeply concerned by the unprecedented pressure on journalists and their increasing self-censorship with regard, in particular, to coverage of sensitive issues on mainland China or those concerning the HKSAR Government,” it said.

Hong Kong protesters have been urging the government to fulfil their five demands since June. The other demands include a complete withdrawal of the extradition bill, the withdrawal of the “riot” characterisation of the June 12 protests, the unconditional release of all arrested protesters, as well as universal suffrage.

The extradition bill would allow the city to handle case-by-case fugitive transfers to jurisdictions with no prior arrangements, including China. Critics have said residents would be at risk of extradition to the mainland, which lacks human rights protections. Chief Executive Carrie Lam declared the bill “dead” last week, but did not enact any mechanism to withdraw it.

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