Q: Today, Hong Kong is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its return to China, with Xi Jinping in attendance. Today is also the day that John Lee, who is notorious for his involvement in the crackdowns on the 2019 protests, officially takes office as the new Chief Executive of Hong Kong. What is the Quai d’Orsay’s opinion of Hong Kong’s takeover?
A: We can only lament the fact that the Chinese authorities have not fulfilled their commitments to the Special Administrative Region and the people of Hong Kong 25 years after Hong Kong’s return to China. Two years ago, a new national security law was adopted that constituted a breach that called into question the “one country, two systems” principle and the territory’s large degree of autonomy. The current situation is extremely concerning: we are witnessing the ongoing erosion of rights and freedoms in the Special Administrative Region. The rise in the number of arrests and sentences and the amount of pressure exerted on civil society – journalists in particular – shows that the national security law is being used to curb freedoms.
As the new Chief Executive of Hong Kong takes office, we reaffirm France’s commitment to the “one country, two systems” principle and to the basic law of Hong Kong, as well as respect for human rights and freedoms, the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary. We reiterate our call for the Chinese authorities to comply with their national and international commitments with regard to Hong Kong.