European Union warns China against Hong Kong election rules change

WION Web Team
Brussels, Belgium Published: Mar 05, 2021, 05:08 PM(IST)

EU chief Ursula von der Leyen Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

China moved to overhaul Hong Kong's electoral system on Friday in a further blow to democracy in the city and unexpectedly set an economic growth target for this year, albeit a modest one, as it kicked off its annual session of parliament

The European Union warned China on Friday that it may take "additional steps" in response to Beijing's move to grant itself a veto over the selection of Hong Kong lawmakers.

A spokesperson of the bloc said, "The EU calls on the authorities in Beijing to carefully consider the political and economic implications of any decision to reform the electoral system of Hong Kong that would undermine fundamental freedoms, political pluralism and democratic principles."

China moved to overhaul Hong Kong's electoral system on Friday in a further blow to democracy in the city and unexpectedly set an economic growth target for this year, albeit a modest one, as it kicked off its annual session of parliament.

Also read | Hong Kong court grants bail to 15 of 47 democracy activists charged with subversion

During Friday's parliamentary session, Beijing proposed legislation that would tighten its increasingly authoritarian grip on Hong Kong by making changes to the electoral committee that chooses the city's leader, giving it new power to nominate legislative candidates.

The measure, set to be approved during the week-long session of China's rubber-stamp parliament, would further marginalise a democratic opposition, decimated after Beijing imposed national security legislation following anti-government protests that rocked Hong Kong in 2019.

This comes after dozens of pro-democracy protesters were arrested in Hong Kong, including former lawmakers, under the draconian security law that was approved last year. 

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