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.
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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.
Residents in areas under Russian control reported earlier this month that they had been handed a Russian passport, which is necessary for basic bureaucratic procedures.
Sheikh Hamdan said His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, places the highest priority on ensuring the wellbeing of senior citizens.
The Dubai search and rescue teams freed the trapped child, according to Lieutenant Colonel Abdullah Bishoh, head of the Land Rescue Department, in the General Department of Transport and Rescue in Dubai Police.
According to new semi-official statistics, total cigarette sales in Egypt during the past nine months amounted to about 55 billion Egyptian pounds ($1.7 billion), with an increase of 4 billion pounds over the same period in 2022.