SYDNEY (AUSTRALIA): Australian foreign minister Marise Payne on Friday expressed serious concern at changes to Hong Kong’s electoral system introduced by China, 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.
A draft decision to change Hong Kong’s electoral system was approved by China’s parliament, further reducing democratic representation in the city’s institutions and introducing a mechanism to vet politicians’ loyalty to Beijing.
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.