China 'straying away' from path to openness, says Swiss Foreign Minister

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Aug 02, 2020, 09.02 PM(IST)

Hong Kong police Photograph:( Reuters )

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"We are seeing China stray from the path of openness," he told SonntagsBlick. 

China is "straying away" from the path of openness and West will respond more decisively if it continues to do the same, Switzerland's foreign minister told a Sunday newspaper.

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According to Ignazio Cassis, economic liberalisation has not matched with political liberalisation and human rights breaches are on the rise. 

"We are seeing China stray from the path of openness," he told SonntagsBlick. 

"This means that Switzerland, too, must defend its interests and values more robustly, for example by strengthening international law and the multilateral system."

Cassis said that Switzerland established a "constructive but critical" relationship with Beijing 70 years ago. 

"The rule of law and human rights have always been part of our dialogue," he said.

Cassis added: "Now we realise that the story is more turbulent than we thought. Human rights violations are on the increase. We want to protect these rights."

Beijing's actions against Hong Kong has drawn criticism across the globe and the new national security law has increased its control over the semi-autonomous city. 

Hong Kong is guaranteed certain freedoms and autonomy in a "One Country, Two Systems" deal agreed ahead of its 1997 handover from Britain.

"If China abandons the 'One Country, Two Systems' principle in the case of Hong Kong, it also affects many Swiss companies that have invested there," said Cassis.

"If China sticks to its new course, the Western world will react more decisively."