Hong Kong expelled four opposition members from its legislature last week after Beijing gave city authorities new powers to curb dissent.
It triggered mass resignations by the remaining 15 pro-democracy opposition lawmakers. The group of five countries also known as ‘Five Eyes’ alliance said in a statement that China’s imposition of new rules to disqualify elected legislators in Hong Kong appeared to be part of a campaign to silence critics and called on Beijing to reverse its decision.
China has rebuked the United States and its ‘Five eyes’ alliance over their demands and termed the National People’s Congress Standing Committee resolution, legitimate.
The alliance said that China’s action is a clear breach of its international obligations under the legally binding, UN-registered Sino-British Joint Declaration. It breaches both China’s commitment that Hong Kong will enjoy a ‘high degree of autonomy’, and the right to freedom of speech.
China denies curbing rights and freedoms in Hong Kong but city authorities and Beijing have moved swiftly to curb dissent after anti-government protests flared in June last year.