France reiterates its support for basic freedoms in Hong Kong

Hong Kong – National security law in Hong Kong – Reply by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs to a written question in the National Assembly

Paris, 26 January 2021

The adoption of a national security law in Hong Kong on 30 June 2020 was accompanied by a series of attacks on the territory’s autonomy and on basic freedoms which France spoke out about, together with its European partners, as soon as the plan was announced.

We have joined the European Union to condemn the arrests of pro-democracy opposition figures, pressure on the press and restrictions on pluralism and democratic expression noted over recent months.

Several times during our bilateral contacts with China, we have emphasized our concerns about the situation in Hong Kong, as the French President recalled in his telephone conversation with his Chinese counterpart on 9 December 2020.

In the face of these developments, France also took action last July, along with its European partners, by adopting measures in support of Hong Kong’s autonomy and in solidarity with the population. Those measures include actions on visas and mobility, increased vigilance regarding the export of sensitive equipment to Hong Kong, support for civil society, and the activation of bursary programmes and academic exchanges. In this framework, the decision was also taken not to proceed with the ratification, in its current form, of the extradition agreement signed on 4 May 2017 between France and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

The measures are being regularly followed up at European level, most recently at the Foreign Affairs Council of 7 December 2020, to adapt their implementation to the way the situation evolves. In accordance with the conclusions of the Council of 24 July 2020, France is taking the situation in Hong Kong into account when it comes to implementing our immigration and visas policy. Several arrangements exist to facilitate mobility, particularly for the benefit of young people, following the example of the Working Holiday Programme and student mobility arrangements, which we fully encourage.

Finally, the situation of the French community in Hong Kong is receiving special attention. Thanks to their dynamism, French nationals in Hong Kong make an outstanding contribution to the prosperity of the Special Administrative Region. It is essential that they should be able to continue doing so in a free, open environment with an independent judicial system, as guaranteed by Hong Kong’s Basic Law and the “one country, two systems” principle./.

Published on 28/01/2021

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