BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union expressed anger on Tuesday at a decision by China’s parliament to pass national security legislation for the former British colony of Hong Kong despite an international outcry.
Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997 under a “one country, two systems” formula with guarantees of freedoms not enjoyed on the mainland.
“We deplore the decision,” EU Council President Charles Michel told a news conference following a video summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
“This law risks seriously undermining the high degree of autonomy of Hong Kong and having a detrimental effect on the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law,” he said.
The EU has warned of serious consequences over China’s security law for Hong Kong, which democracy activists, diplomats and some businesses say will jeopardise its semi-autonomous status and its role as a global financial hub.
Last week, the European Parliament urged the bloc to take China to the International Court of Justice in The Hague, the United Nations’ highest legal body, if Beijing went ahead.
Both Michel and the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, last week held a video summit with the Chinese leadership and raised the Hong Kong issue.
Following Tuesday’s South Korea-EU summit, where Hong Kong was again discussed, von der Leyen said the bloc is now discussing with “international partners” any possible measures in response but did not go into details.
“We will pay careful attention on how to respond,” von der Leyen said.
Reporting by Robin Emmott; editing by Philip Blenkinsop and Nick Macfie