Federal government insists on civil liberties in Hong Kong

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Federal government insists on civil liberties in Hong Kong





© Reuters / TYRONE SIU
Anti-government protesters react from tear gas during a march against Beijing’s plans to impose national security legislation in Hong Kong


Berlin (Reuters) – The federal government insists on the civil liberties of the people of Hong Kong in view of the planned Chinese security law.

“The principle applies: one country, two systems,” said government spokesman Steffen Seibert on Monday in Berlin. The Hong Kong regulations opened up a whole range of civil liberties. “Of course, this must continue to be guaranteed.” Take the criticism of the Chinese government’s project seriously. This raises questions that China should clarify, said Seibert. A spokeswoman for the Foreign Ministry pointed out that the EU representation in Beijing is already in contact with the Chinese on the matter.

On Thursday, Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang announced new laws and “enforcement mechanisms” to safeguard national security in Hong Kong. According to this, Chinese police and secret services with extensive powers could be transferred to the special administrative zone.

This had sparked protests by thousands of people in Hong Kong. The protesters fear that the legislative plans could lead to the end of the “one country, two systems” principle, according to which the former British crown colony has been governed with greater freedom and autonomy since it was returned to China in 1997. Demonstrations against China’s influence had been going on for months last year.

In view of the current protests, China tightened its tone against the democracy movement on Monday. Some actions during the demonstrations last year were “terrorist in nature” and “an immediate threat” to China’s national security, China’s Hong Kong Foreign Minister Xie Feng said.

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