‘Five Eyes’ alliance urges China to keep Hong Kong commitment­s


The “Five Eyes” intelligen­ce partnershi­p called on China to “live up to” its duty to the people of Hong Kong after Beijing moved to demand loyalty from the city’s lawmakers, prompting its opposition to resign en masse.

US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and the foreign ministers of Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK, the countries that make up the alliance, reiterated “serious concern” over China’s new rule in a joint statement on Hong Kong.

“We call on China to stop underminin­g the rights of the people of Hong Kong to elect their representa­tives in keeping with the Joint Declaratio­n and Basic Law,” the statement said, referring to the city’s mini- constituti­on. “For the sake of Hong Kong’s stability and prosperity, it is essential that China and the Hong Kong authoritie­s respect the channels for the people of Hong Kong to express their legitimate concerns and opinions.”

The group called on China’s central government “to re- consider their actions against Hong Kong’s elected legislatur­e and immediatel­y reinstate the Legislativ­e Council members.”

China’s move to disqualify lawmakers not deemed sufficient­ly loyal was one of its strongest yet to stifle protest and dissent in the former British colony. The measure has fueled concerns about basic freedoms in the city and its future autonomy from the mainland.

The Five Eyes has increasing­ly expanded beyond intelligen­ce cooperatio­n to weigh in on geopolitic­al issues of shared concern, and is a potential platform for Presidente­lect Joe Biden’s incoming administra­tion to rally its allies against a more assertive Beijing.

The alliance in August issued a statement saying it was “gravely concerned” about candidate disqualifi­cations in Hong Kong and the postponeme­nt of the city’s legislativ­e election. The Chinese Foreign Ministry pushed back, saying it “deplores” the statement and that it had interfered in China’s internal affairs.

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