Wed, 18 May 2022

London [UK], May 9 (ANI): Foreign ministers of the Group of Seven (G7) alliance voiced concern on Monday over the election of a former police officer as Hong Kong's new leader, calling it part of a continued "assault on political pluralism and fundamental freedoms" of the city.

"We, the G7 Foreign Ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America, and the High Representative of the European Union, underscore our grave concern over the selection process for the Chief Executive in Hong Kong as part of a continued assault on political pluralism and fundamental freedoms," the ministers said in a statement as they expressed deep concern about this steady erosion of political and civil rights and Hong Kong's autonomy.

This comes after the former police officer and secretary for security John Lee Ka-chiu was elected as the new Hong Kong chief executive.

The uncontested election follows changes to city-state's electoral laws last year that the G7 ministers say represent a "stark departure from the aim of universal suffrage."Last year, Chinese and Hong Kong authorities moved away from the ultimate aim of universal suffrage as set out in Hong Kong's Basic Law by increasing the number of non-elected members appointed to the Election Committee and dramatically curtailing the number of voters eligible to participate in the Committee elections.

"The current nomination process and resulting appointment are a stark departure from the aim of universal suffrage and further erode the ability of Hong Kongers to be legitimately represented. We are deeply concerned about this steady erosion of political and civil rights and Hong Kong's autonomy," the G7 statement said.

The foreign ministers urged China to uphold its obligations under the Sino-British Joint Declaration and called on Hong Kong's newly elected leader to safeguard rights and freedoms in Hong Kong.

John Lee's candidacy was backed by the Chinese government, which seeks to clamp down on the remnants of the pro-democracy movement.

EU Foreign Policy chief Josep Borrell Fontelles on Sunday expressed regret over the election of John Lee as the new Chief Executive of Hong Kong and said his appointment violates the democratic norms of the city-state.

"Election of Chief Executive violates democratic principles and political pluralism in Hong Kong. The selection process is yet another step in the dismantling of the 'one country, two systems' principle ChineseHong Kong authorities should abide by their national and international commitments," Borrell tweeted.

Hong Kong's Election Committee has selected John Lee Ka-chiu, the sole candidate for the post of Chief Executive on May 8. This was the first selection process since the imposition of the National Security Law and the implementation of sweeping changes in Hong Kong's electoral system. (ANI)

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