Global foreign ministers have today expressed their “grave concern” over the Hong Kong election which saw pro-Beijing candidates dominate.
In a joint statement, foreign minister Liz Truss, alongside her Australian, Canadian, New Zealand and US counterpart, added that Hong Kong’s electoral system overhaul has “eliminated any meaningful political opposition”.
The election had already seen a poor voter turnout, after election laws were changed to ensure that only candidates who supported Beijing could run in the city state.
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam told reporters today that she was “satisfied” with the result – despite just a little over a third of the city’s population voting.
“For registered voters, deciding whether they want to exercise their voting rights in a particular election is entirely a matter for themselves,” she added.
The electoral changes have seen elected officials reduced from 35 to 20, with all candidates vetted by a largely pro-Beijing committee before they could be nominated.
The foreign ministers added: “We also remain gravely concerned at the wider chilling effect of the National Security Law and the growing restrictions on freedom of speech and freedom of assembly, which are being felt across civil society.
“Protecting space for peaceful alternative views is the most effective way to ensure the stability and prosperity of Hong Kong.”
The ministers urged the People’s Republic of China to “act in accordance with its international obligations” and respect protected rights such as democratic elections.