Deep concern at Hong Kong national security legislation

  • Rt Hon Winston Peters
Deputy Prime Minister Foreign Affairs

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters today reiterated the deep concern of the New Zealand Government following confirmation by China’s National People’s Congress of national security legislation relating to Hong Kong.

“New Zealand shares the international community’s significant and long-standing stake in Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability,” Mr Peters said.

“New Zealand has a strong interest in seeing confidence maintained in the ‘one country, two systems’ framework under which Hong Kong is assured of a high degree of autonomy.”

“That framework has underpinned freedoms and prosperity in Hong Kong since the territory’s return to China in 1997.  Since that time, Hong Kong’s open governance, judicial independence, and strong rule of law have been key to its success as a global financial and economic hub.

“Direct imposition of national security legislation by the Beijing authorities, rather than through Hong Kong’s own institutions, curtails the liberties of the Hong Kong people and erodes Hong Kong’s autonomy and the system that made it so prosperous and which China in 1997 asked New Zealand and other countries to support.

“New Zealand is concerned at the impact the new legislation could have on important rights and freedoms enshrined in Hong Kong’s Basic Law, and in United Nations human rights covenants incorporated in the Basic Law, including freedom of expression and the right to peaceful protest.

“We are also concerned that this action will exacerbate the divisions within Hong Kong society rather than foster reconciliation and trust.

“It is important that any national security law respects these fundamental freedoms and has the support of the people of Hong Kong.  We will continue to monitor the situation closely,” Mr Peters said.