EU and Canada under fire for autonomy plea

Top News | Daphne Li 19 Aug 2019

The Chinese mission to the European Union attacked the EU and Canada's joint statement that urged the Hong Kong government to continue to uphold autonomy and the freedom of peaceful assembly.

In a joint statement on Saturday, Federica Mogherini, the diplomatic chief of the EU, and Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chrystia Freeland, said that a large number of people had exercised their fundamental right of assembly over the past two months in Hong Kong but they have seen an increasing amount of unacceptable violence.

They called on the government to exercise restraint, reject violence and de-escalate the situation by taking urgent steps.

"Engagement through a process of broad-based and inclusive dialogue, involving all key stakeholders, is essential," the statement said.

The right of peaceful assembly and Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy, which are enshrined in the Basic Law and international agreements, must continue to be upheld.

In response, a spokesman for the Chinese mission to the European Union lashed out and criticized the bloc for "repeatedly meddling in Hong Kong affairs" and the mainland's internal affairs.

The statement added: "Hong Kong citizens have enjoyed rights and freedoms as never before. This is a fact that is clear for all to see."

More than 37 events, including marches and flash mob rallies, were held across the world to support the mass protests in Hong Kong at the weekend.

Thousands of demonstrators in London staged a rally on Saturday, while a group of pro-China protesters held another rally at the same venue.

The pro-democracy protesters chanted "We are not rioters. We are Hongkongers," "Free Hong Kong" and "Stand with Hong Kong" while marching toward Parliament Square from Trafalgar Square in London.

The pro-China protesters held up signs that read "One nation, one China," "Hong Kong is part of China forever," and "Support Hong Kong Police."

More than 100 police were deployed to keep the rival groups apart.

Another 500 protesters took part in a rally in Sydney to call for democracy and freedom, with some wearing yellow helmets.

About 50 people demonstrated in Paris and chanted "freedom for Hong Kong" and "freedom for China."

In Canada, thousands demonstrated across the country in support of the Hong Kong movement.

Rival protesters squared off outside a metro station in Vancouver and the crowds were separated by police officers.

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