Italy votes through SAR resolution

Local | Michael Shum 5 Dec 2019

An Italian Chamber of Deputies committee passed a resolution supporting Hong Kong protesters and demands an investigation into police abuse of power.

Deputies also demanded an explanation regarding the ban on pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong Chi-fung from traveling to speak at the Italian parliament last month.

The resolution was passed after all members of the committee voted for it. Both parties of the coalition government voted for the resolution, including the Beijing-friendly 5-Star Movement party.

This followed the Italian Senate's invitation for Demosisto's Wong to speak during their meeting through a video conference call last week.

The invitation drew the outrage of the Chinese embassy in Italy, declaring the Italian Senate to be mistaken and "irresponsible."

Remarks from the embassy sparked discontent from the Italian Prime Minister Guiseppe Conte and party leaders.

The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Monday that they hoped Rome would support Beijing in dealing with the ongoing protests, with deputies still voting to pass the resolution.

Lia Quartapelle, a member of the Chamber of Deputies said that she is happy that every member of the committee voted for the resolution, and the chamber is finally encouraging the government to speak up for Hong Kong.

"Italy respects freedom of speech and conscience, and neither financial benefits nor foreign pressure could override this belief," Quartapelle said in an interview with Italian newspaper Affari Italiani.

"Italy also respects the right of every country to deal with their internal affairs, while those incidents are a breach of Italy's belief, Italy must speak out on that matter."

Quartapelle said that despite intensifying business relationships with Beijing, Italy could not turn a blind eye to human rights and the rule of law.

She added that the former Italian government's signing of China's Belt and Road Initiative Memorandum damaged relations with the European Union, with the resolution indicating Italy's refusal to be political allies with Beijing.

Quartapelle concluded that any form of retaliation would do no good for any party, and Italy should be back on the right track under Europe's multilateral relations with other countries.

michael.shum@singtaonewscorp.com

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