China's Hong Kong Law 'Grave Concern', Sanctions No Solution: EU

Pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong fear China's national security
 law will undermine the city's autonomy [Billy HC Kwok/Getty]

The European Union has criticised China for asserting more control over Hong Kong and suggested the move would have an impact on China-EU relations - but the 27-nation bloc ruled out taking any action against its major trading partner.

"We express our grave concern at the steps taken by China," EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Friday after chairing a video meeting of the foreign ministers. "Our relations with China are based on mutual respect and trust. I want to underline this - respect and trust - but this decision calls this into question."

On Thursday, the Chinese parliament rubber-stamped a national security law that will bypass Hong Kong's internal legislature and punish subversion, secession and "terrorism" in the semi-autonomous territory.

Critics and rights activists fear the law will be used to quash political dissent in the former British colony, whose people had been promised that their rights and freedoms would be respected following its 1997 handover to Beijing.

Pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong fear the law could severely restrict political activity and civil society and view it as an assault the regional financial hub's autonomy.



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