A bipartisan group of Senators on Thursday called on the leaders of the United Nations Security Council to hold an emergency meeting to discuss China’s latest decision to approve a strict national security law on Hong Kong, which critics fear will impede on the territory’s autonomy.
In a letter to the current and incoming president of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), the leading members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sens. James Risch, Idaho Republican, and Bob Menendez, New Jersey Democrat, were joined by Sens. Cory Gardner Colorado Republican, Ed Markey, Massachusetts Democrat, Marco Rubio, Florida Republican, Ben Cardin, Maryland Democrat, and Jeff Merkley, Oregon Democrat, in calling for the immediate gathering of 15 the UNSC member nations.
“In your nations’ capacities as the current and incoming president of the UNSC, we write to strongly support the USUN’s call for an immediate UNSC meeting on recent actions taken by the Chinese government to undermine Hong Kong’s autonomy and infringe on the rights and freedoms promised to the Hong Kong people,” wrote the members.
The letter was issued hours after China’s legislature moved forward with the law on Hong Kong that would allow Chinese intelligence and security forces to be based inside the district for the first time, and seeks to address terrorism, secession and foreign interference in the city.
The proposal of the law sparked widespread protests in the city as thousands of Hong Kong residents took to the streets, and hundreds have since been arrested, and has since been condemned by democracies around the world.
Critics of the legislation, including the U.S., have claimed that it will erode Hong Kong’s freedoms granted under a 1997 treaty between Britain and China that bound Beijing’s communist rulers to respect Hong Kong’s autonomy as a special administrative region and to leave its liberal economy and government for 50 years under the formulation “one country, two systems.”
Pro-Beijing lawmakers, meanwhile, have insisted that the law will not impact the autonomy granted to the city under the pact.
The lawmakers in the letter said Beijing’s latest moves are “a clear violation of its binding international commitments, including the Sino-British Joint Declaration of 1984, and undermine the ability for the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to remain in force in Hong Kong as guaranteed by Hong Kong’s Basic Law.”
“These actions warrant the immediate attention of the UNSC. We hope in your capacities as the current and incoming President of the UNSC, you will support this call for a virtual meeting at the UNSC without delay.”
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