HONG KONG, Oct. 4, 2019 (Xinhua) -- A civil group petitions for establishing the anti-mask law outside the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government headquarters in Hong Kong, south China, Oct. 3, 2019. TO GO WITH "Advocates call for anti-mask law in unrest-hit Hong Kong" (Xinhua/Wu Xiaochu/IANS) by .
A civil group petitions for establishing the anti-mask law outside the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government headquarters in Hong Kong, south China. (Xinhua/Wu Xiaochu/IANS)

In an unprecedented move, the US, the UK, Australia and Canada on Friday jointly reprimanded China, stating that its decision to impose a new security law on Hong Kong was in direct violation of international obligations.

The UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne, Canadian Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne, and US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo issued a joint statement which said, “China’s decision to impose the new national security law on Hong Kong lies in direct conflict with its international obligations under the principles of the legally-binding, UN-registered Sino-British Joint Declaration.”

The representatives of the four powerful nations of the world said that the proposed law would undermine the ‘One Country, Two Systems framework’.

Censuring China, the group of four said that they were deeply concerned regarding Beijing’s decision since the international community has a significant and long-standing stake in Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability.

HONG KONG, Sept. 1, 2019 (Xinhua) -- Hong Kong police conduct a dispersal operation at around 5 p.m. outside the Hong Kong International Airport in south China's Hong Kong, Sept. 1, 2019. A large group of radical protesters charged security cordon lines, damaged facilities, and disrupted the operations of the Hong Kong International Airport on Sunday. n Protesters started gathering at the bus stops of the airport terminal at 1:00 p.m. local time. Around 2:00 p.m., the radical protesters started to charge water-filled barriers, pointed laser beams at the airport authority staff, and blocked roads with trolleys and mills barriers. n They also hurled objects at police officers and airport authority staff. Some radical protesters used iron bars to smash the doors of airport facilities. n At around 3:30 p.m., the police said they would soon conduct a dispersal operation and asked all protesters to leave and stop their illegal acts immediately. n As the protesters left the airport, some black-clad men built barricades to keep police away and paralyze the traffic surrounding the airport. (Xinhua/IANS) by .
Hong Kong police conduct a dispersal operation. (Xinhua/IANS)

“Hong Kong has flourished as a bastion of freedom. Direct imposition of national security legislation on Hong Kong by the Beijing authorities, rather than through Hong Kong’s own institutions as provided for under Article 23 of the Basic Law, would curtail Hong Kong people’s liberties, and in doing so, dramatically erode Hong Kong’s autonomy and the system that made it so prosperous,” the statement said.

The new law “also raises the prospect of prosecution in Hong Kong for political crimes, and undermines existing commitments to protect the rights of Hong Kong people, including those set out in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.”

The four representatives said that they were “also extremely concerned that this action will exacerbate the existing deep divisions in Hong Kong society.” The law, they said, does nothing to build mutual understanding and foster reconciliation within Hong Kong.

Rebuilding trust across Hong Kong by allowing the people to enjoy the rights and freedoms they were promised can be the only way back from the tensions and unrest that the territory has seen over the last year, the statement said.

Chinese President Xi Jinping meets with Chief Executive of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Carrie Lam in Beijing,

Arguing that the new imposition has “jeopardised Hong Kong’s stability and prosperity”, the four nations called the government of China to work with the Hong Kong’s Special Administrative Region government and the people of Hong Kong to “find a mutually acceptable accommodation that will honour China’s international obligations under the UN-filed Sino-British Joint Declaration.”

Censuring Chinese leadership over its irresponsible behaviour during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the four nations said, “The world’s focus on a global pandemic requires enhanced trust in governments and international cooperation. Beijing’s unprecedented move risks having the opposite effect.”

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