On electoral changes in Hong Kong

Hon Nanaia Mahuta, Minister of Foreign Affairs, New Zealand and Senator the Hon Marise Payne, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women, Australia today issued the following joint statement:

The Governments of Australia and New Zealand, like G7 counterparts, are deeply concerned that changes to Hong Kong’s electoral system passed by the National People’s Congress on 11 March further undermine rights and freedoms and the high degree of autonomy guaranteed by China to Hong Kong until 2047 under the Sino-British Joint Declaration.

Australia and New Zealand have always wanted Hong Kong to succeed, given its role as a significant hub for finance, trade, and our communities overseas. This depends on Hong Kong continuing to enjoy a high degree of autonomy and respecting the rule of law.

These changes run contrary to the ultimate aim of a Hong Kong Chief Executive elected through universal suffrage, weaken Hong Kong’s democratic institutions, and erode freedom of speech and association – all of which are set out in the Basic Law. This is a significant step which will further undermine Hong Kong’s autonomy.

We urge the Hong Kong and Chinese authorities to uphold their commitments, allow genuine avenues for the people of Hong Kong to participate in their governance, and protect the role of the Legislative Council as a forum for the expression of diverse views and scrutiny of government.

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