- Pompeo argued that China has “no intention” to maintain the commitments reached with the Hong Kong and the United Kingdom.
- Chief Executive Carrie Lam left the decision virtually in the hands of the central government of Beijing.
- Two U.S. politicians warned China in a statement on Friday.
United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has condemned the one-year postponement of the Hong Kong legislative elections, which had initially been scheduled for September 6, saying that there wasn’t sufficient justification for the move. Pompeo made a statement published on the State Department website.
“The United States condemns the Hong Kong government’s decision to postpone by one year upcoming Legislative Council elections originally scheduled for September 6. There is no valid reason for such a lengthy delay. It is likely, therefore, that Hong Kong will never again be able to vote – for anything or anyone.”
The statement continued:
“We urge Hong Kong authorities to reconsider their decision. The elections should be held as close to the September 6 date as possible and in a manner that reflects the will and aspirations of the Hong Kong people. If they aren’t, then regrettably Hong Kong will continue its march toward becoming just another Communist-run city in China.”
In addition, Pompeo argued that China has “no intention” to maintain the commitments reached with the Hong Kong and the United Kingdom. Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lama announced on Friday a one-year delay, citing the increase in the new coronavirus cases in the territory, and invoking the national emergency law.
By finally deciding to invoke the national emergency law against the coronavirus, promulgated by the Chinese authorities, Lam left the decision virtually in the hands of the central government of Beijing.
It would thus be the second time in less than a year that Lam invokes such powers, first introduced almost a century ago under British colonial rule. The first instance was when she invoked the law last October, to ban the use of masks by protesters hiding their identities during anti-government protests.
The postponement of the elections, in principle until September 5, 2021, raises unknowns about the current situation both of the LegCo and of the opposition deputies who saw their candidacy annulled “for security reasons,” according to the authorities.
The elections postponement move is seen as a blow to the pro-democracy camp, which was widely expected to win many seats in the election in the Special Administrative Region, owing to the current mood on the ground. Analysts opine that the postponement was the latest in a series of moves by the government in recent days to deal with the influence of the pro-democracy movement.
Two U.S. politicians, Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), outgoing Chair of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, and Senate ranking member, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), warned China in a statement on Friday. “This action only further undermines the credibility of China as a responsible rule-abiding member of the international community.”
The statement concluded:
“If Beijing thinks that this effort will silence those who stand for freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law, it is gravely mistaken: today we are all Hong Kongers.”