Three MPs call on Lithuanian Seimas to condemn repressions in Hong Kong

  • 2022-06-07
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – Three MPs have called on the Seimas of Lithuania to condemn Beijing’s repressions in Hong Kong and not to recognize that the appointment of Hong Kong leader in May was democratic.

The MPs held a press conference to present a draft parliamentary resolution urging the Chinese government to release all political prisoners in Hong Kong, including those sentenced for participation in banned Tiananmen crackdown commemorations.

The draft resolution calls to recognize that the Seimas “regrets the anti-democratic electoral reforms that facilitated the appointment of former security chief John Lee as Hong Kong next leader in May and refuses to recognize his election as part of the legitimate democratic process”.

The resolution was drafted by Marius Matijosaitis of the Freedom Party, who chairs the Parliamentary Group for Relations with Hong Kong, as well as Dovile Sakaliene of the Social Democrats and Zygimantas Pavilionis of the conservative Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats, who both are members of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China.

The MPs also called on the European Union to implement a sanction mechanism against China’s and Hong Kong’s government officials responsible for human rights' and international law violations in the city. They also urged the European Commission to restrict exports of dual-use goods to Hong Kong.

The parliamentarians called on Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda and the government “to work out a mechanism facilitating access to political asylum for Hong Kong’s dissidents”.

Sakaliene stated at the press conference that the resolution had been drafted in view of the fact that China had breached the treaty signed with the United Kingdom over Hong Kong, which provided for the principle of “one country, two systems”, by banning commemorations of the Tiananmen Square crackdown not just in China but also in Hong Kong.

“We have stated very clearly our stance that the Chinese Communist Party must be held accountable for international law violations in Hong Kong... We have also stressed that those abusing human rights, being international criminals, cannot hoard up wealth freely and enjoy the privileges provided by our democracies,” she said.

Ray Wong, a Hong Kong activist and an advisor at Hong Kong Watch, a UK-based NGO established to monitor the conditions of human rights, freedoms and the rule of law in Hong Kong, stated at the press conference that the human rights situation in Hong Kong had been deteriorating in recent years.

Commemorations of the Tiananmen Square crackdown, which had been taking place annually since 1990, had been banned this year and deemed “posing a threat to security”, he said adding that participants of those commemorations were being arrested since 2019.

China continued to demonstrate its force both to the neighboring countries and the whole world, the activist, who is currently residing in Germany, stressed adding that he hoped that “China’s authoritarian regime will collapse”.

Meanwhile, Pavilionis pointed to China’s role in Russia’s war against Ukraine. The MP stated that “the autocracies” retreating from democracy “are starting to play together on the same side and support each other’s aggression”.

“Basically, China currently supports Russia’s aggression in Ukraine economically. Therefore, I am surprised by the statements made by some of our colleagues from other parties when they, on the one hand, support Ukraine very actively and, on the other hand, criticize us, those who have joined forces to stand against Communist China, for deeper ties with Taiwan…,” he said.

Sakaliene said that she expected the draft resolution to be approved by the parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs on Wednesday and to be discussed by the Plenary as early as next week.

After seven months of pro-democratic protests that rocked Hong Kong in 2019, Beijing imposed a law on the semi-autonomous city effectively criminalizing dissent.

In May, a number of countries, including Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States, joined the European Union (EU) in its concerns voiced about how Hong Kong’s new leader was chosen.

Beijing, in its turn, praised the election process as the “real demonstration of democratic spirit” and claimed that this was the climax of the strategy aimed at having the “patriots only” in charge of the city.