Fri, 05 Mar 2021

Brussels [Belgium], January 23 (ANI): The European Union risks losing credibility as a human rights actor by signing an investment deal with China and not taking concrete action against serious and ongoing human rights violations in Hong Kong, according to a resolution in the European Parliament.

The European Parliament, in a resolution on Thursday called for the immediate and unconditional release of representatives of the democratic opposition and activists arrested in Hong Kong in the first two weeks of 2021, as well as all those previously detained on charges of subversion under the draconian National Security Law for Hong Kong.

Over 50 opposition lawmakers and activists were arrested, earlier this month, on suspicion of violating the authoritarian national security law, for their part in a primary election run-off last July.

Among the arrested were former lawmakers James To Kun-sun, Lam Cheuk-ting, Andrew Wan Siu-kin, Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu and Wu Chi-wai, as well as pollster Dr Robert Chung Ting-yiu, who helped organise the event, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported.

The resolution called for considering the introduction of targetted sanctions against individuals in Hong Kong and China, including Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam, under the EU Human Rights Global Sanction Regime.

"The same goes for all peaceful Hong Kong protesters, activists and members of the political opposition arrested on politically motivated charges. These include the prominent opposition figures Joshua Wong, Ivan Lam, and Agnes Chow, whose charges should all be dropped," the European Parliament said in a press statement.

"MEPs (Members of the European Parliament) regret that the recent decision to reach a political conclusion of the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment did not reflect Parliament's requests to use investment negotiations as a leverage tool to preserve Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy, the Provision read.

It added, "By rushing to reach this agreement while not taking concrete action against ongoing grave human right violations, for example in Hong Kong, Xinjiang province and Tibet, the EU risks undermining its credibility as a global human rights actor."(The) Parliament also urges EU countries to consider introducing "targeted sanctions" against individuals in Hong Kong and China, including Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam, under the EU Human Rights Global Sanction Regime.

The draconian law -- that was imposed by Beijing -- came into effect from July 1, last year.

According to the authoritarian security law, a principal offender convicted of subversion faces imprisonment of 10 years to life, while an "active participant" can be sentenced to between three and 10 years' jail, while a minor can face a fixed term of not more than three years' imprisonment or short-term detention or restriction. (ANI)

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