Hong Kong leader appointment violates democratic norms: EU foreign policy chief

May 12, 2022 at 4:18 PM

EU Foreign Policy chief Josep Borrell Fontelles on Sunday expressed regret over the election of John Lee as the new Chief Executive of Hong Kong and said his appointment violates the democratic norms of the city-state.

“Election of Chief Executive violates democratic principles and political pluralism in Hong Kong. The selection process is yet another step in the dismantling of the ‘one country, two systems’ principle Chinese & Hong Kong authorities should abide by their national and international commitments,” Borrell tweeted.

Hong Kong’s Election Committee has selected John Lee Ka-chiu, the sole candidate for the post of Chief Executive on May 8. This was the first selection process since the imposition of the National Security Law and the implementation of sweeping changes in Hong Kong’s electoral system.

Preceding his selection, Lee was vetted by the Candidate Eligibility Review Committee, and nominated by 786 of the 1461 members of the revamped Election Committee.

The number of voters on the Election Committee was substantially reduced by the electoral overhaul, weakening the already limited democratic elements in the governance of Hong Kong, and running counter to the commitments to greater representation enshrined in the Basic Law.

“The European Union regrets this violation of democratic principles and political pluralism and sees this selection process as yet another step in the dismantling of the ‘one country, two systems’ principle,” the European Council said in a statement.

According to the statement, the European Union attaches great importance to the preservation of Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy as well as respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, including media freedom, democratic principles and the rule of law, in line with the Basic Law and with international commitments.

The EU called on Chinese and Hong Kong authorities to abide by their national and international commitments, notably the ultimate aim of electing the Chief Executive and members of the Legislative Council by universal suffrage.

A Human Rights Watch (HRW) researcher said that Beijing’s selection of an abusive former police official heightens concerns of an expansion of its repressive policies in the city.

“Chillingly, Lee is well-known for having praised Beijing’s severe abuses in Xinjiang against the Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims under the guise of countering terrorism–which Human Rights Watch found amounted to crimes against humanity,” said Maya Wang, Senior China Researcher at HRW. (ANI)