Australia’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne speaks during a news conference at the US Department of State in Washington. File/Reuters
Australian foreign minister Marise Payne on Friday expressed serious concern at Chinese changes to Hong Kong’s electoral system, saying the reforms weakened Hong Kong’s democratic institutions.
“It is essential that Hong Kong people have channels to exercise their fundamental freedom of political expression,” Payne said in a statement.
China’s parliament on Thursday approved a draft decision to change Hong Kong’s electoral system, further reducing democratic representation in the city’s institutions and introducing a mechanism to vet politicians’ loyalty to Beijing.
The United States on Thursday condemned the changes and forecast “difficult” talks with China’s top diplomats next week.
There are about 100,000 Australian citizens living in Hong Kong, one of Australia’s largest expatriate communities.
Former Hong Kong pro-democracy lawmaker Ted Hui arrived in Australia on Monday, after fleeing Hong Kong late last year, and said he planned to lobby for the pro-democracy movement.
“We owe our achievements last year to the strong leadership of the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at its core,” Li said in an hour-long speech to over 5,000 delegates gathered in the Great Hall of the People, all of them inoculated against COVID-19 with a vaccine made by China’s Sinopharm.
The G7 released a statement that was tweeted by British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, saying the recent decision to change Hong Kong’s electoral system indicated that authorities in China were determined to eliminate dissenting voices and opinions in Hong Kong.
The measures are part of Beijing’s efforts to consolidate its increasingly authoritarian grip over the global financial hub following the imposition of a national security law in June, which critics see as a tool to crush dissent.
The Dubai Civil Defence’s operations room received a report at 3:58am on Saturday stating that a fire had erupted in the Marina Diamond 2 building in the Dubai Marina area.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed, Vice President, Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai on Saturday approved Hatta Master Development Plan, which forms an integral part of the Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan.
Since the beginning of 2021, the campaign in Pakistan has succeeded in providing 75,148,404 doses of vaccination against polio, bringing the total number, provided by the campaign since 2014 and until 2021, to 583, 240,876 vaccination doses.