dpa/GNA – US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday said the latest update to the Hong Kong Autonomy Act report showed that China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) unilaterally undermined Hong Kong’s electoral system last week.
The NPC, China’s ceremonial rubber-stamp legislature, last Thursday endorsed a plan to “improve” Hong Kong’s electoral system by giving a pro-Beijing committee power to appoint more of the city’s lawmakers, reducing the public’s role in the government.
Beijing has stated that it wants only what it calls “patriots” to govern in Hong Kong, namely politicians who support the central Chinese Communist government.
“The release of today’s update to the Hong Kong Autonomy Act report underscores our deep concern with the National People’s Congress March 11 decision to unilaterally undermine Hong Kong’s electoral system,” said Blinken, who is currently on a visit to Japan and South Korea.
“This action further undermines the high degree of autonomy promised to people in Hong Kong and denies Hong Kongers a voice in their own governance, a move that the United Kingdom has declared to be a breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration,” he added.
The secretary of state said that the updated report identified an additional 24 Chinese and Hong Kong officials “whose actions have reduced Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy.” The individuals will be subject to sanctions.
The announcement comes ahead of a meeting between Blinken and China’s highest-ranking foreign policy officials in Alaska later this week and amid tension between Beijing and Washington.
The meeting will be the first high-level contact between the two governments since US President Joe Biden took office in January.