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Twenty Australian politicians sign letter slamming ‘flagrant breach’ of Hong Kong declaration

Nearly 200 political figures from around the world – including 20 Australians – have decried plans for national security laws in Hong Kong as international tensions grow over the proposal to set up Chinese government intelligence bases in the territory.

In a joint statement organised by former Hong Kong Governor Christopher Patten and former British Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind, 186 law and policy leaders said the proposed laws are a “comprehensive assault on the city’s autonomy, rule of law and fundamental freedoms” and a “flagrant breach” of the Chinese-British Joint Declaration that returned Hong Kong to China in 1997.

“If the international community cannot trust Beijing to keep its word when it comes to Hong Kong, people will be reluctant to take its word on other matters,” they wrote.

The last British Governor of Hong Kong Chris Patten, left, is greeted by well-wishers at a shopping center in 1998.

The last British Governor of Hong Kong Chris Patten, left, is greeted by well-wishers at a shopping center in 1998.

AP

The letter was signed by 20 Australian politicians – nine MPs and 11 senators – including former defence minister Kevin Andrews, Dave Sharma, Tim Wilson, Andrew Hastie and Senator Eric Abetz. 

US officials have said the Chinese legislation would be bad for both Hong Kong’s and China’s economies and could jeopardise the territory’s special status in US law.

China’s government, though, has dismissed other countries’ complaints as meddling.

US signatories included Republicans – Senator Marco Rubio, acting chair of the Intelligence Committee, and Senator Ted Cruz – and Democrats such as representative Eliot Engel, head of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Adam Schiff, chairman of the US House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

Forty-four members of Britain’s House of Commons and eight members of its House of Lords also signed the statement, alongside figures from across Europe, Asia and North America.

Source: SBS

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