Abetz joins call to protect Hong Kong from Communist China



24th May 2020

Abetz joins international call to protect Hong Kong from communist China

Tasmanian Liberal Senator Eric Abetz has added his weight as a former Senate leader and current Chair of the Senate’s Foreign Affairs Defence and Trade Committee to a list of international signatories calling on the Chinese Communist dictatorship to honour its agreement to protect the freedoms and liberties of the Hong Kongers.

The 201 Parliamentarians and policymakers from 23 different countries around the world (of which Senator Abetz is one) have publicly called on the Chinese Communist dictatorship to honour the Sino-British Joint Declaration which was part of the arrangement of China regaining control of Hong Kong from Britain. 

The unilateral introduction of national security legislation in Hong Kong is a fundamental breach of the Declaration and calls into question the Chinese Communist dictatorship’s commitment to stand by its agreements, Senator Abetz said.

This latest action by China is part of a disturbing trend that aims to suppress freedom and exert control over other nations. We must remain vigilant to the increasingly insidious influence that China tries to exert domestically here in Australia (as seen with Victoria’s participation in the Belt and Road Initiative) and on the international stage. 

Freedom is fundamental. Advocates for freedom cannot sit idly by as a dictatorship breaches not only widely accepted standards but repudiates an agreement to which it is a signatory. 

Having met with pro-democracy representatives from Hong Kong, I have heard firsthand their inspirational and principled commitment to protecting the freedoms which they were promised by China. China needs to honour its commitments if it is in any way concerned about its standing as a keeper of its agreements.

I am heartened so many have signed the statement from diverse countries and political persuasions which indicates the gravity of the breach of commitment by China. 

The senator calls on all freedom-loving countries and parliamentarians to add their name to the list and be counted.

The joint statement from 201 Signatories:

We, the co-signed, write to express grave concerns about the unilateral introduction of national security legislation by Beijing in Hong Kong. This is a comprehensive assault on the city’s autonomy, rule of law, and fundamental freedoms. The integrity of one-country, two-systems hangs by a thread. It is the genuine grievances of ordinary Hong Kongers that are driving protests. Draconian laws will only escalate the situation further, jeopardising Hong Kong’s future as an open Chinese international city. 

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. Sympathetic governments must unite to say that this flagrant breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration cannot be tolerated.

About Eric

Eric Abetz has been a Liberal Senator for Tasmania since 1994 and has served in a range of Leadership, Ministerial and Shadow Ministerial roles.

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