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e-2640 (Foreign affairs)

Initiated by Carlo Puche from Richmond, British Columbia

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the Government of Canada

  • The Hong Kong National Security Law authorized by the People’s National Congress of the People’s Republic of China (a.k.a. “The decision to establish and improve a legal framework and enforcement mechanism for safeguarding national security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region”) is a direct breach against Hong Kong’s ‘One Country, Two Systems’ framework;
  • The Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act (Sergei Magnitsky Law) is an Act “to provide for the taking of restrictive measures in respect of foreign nationals responsible for gross violations of internationally recognized human rights”; and
  • A statement made by an international coalition led by former Governor of Hong Kong, Lord Patten, and former UK Foreign Secretary, Sir Malcolm Rifkind, decrying the PRC’s National Security Law as “flagrant breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration” has been signed by over 700 parliamentarians and policymakers from over 30 countries.
We, the undersigned, citizens of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to join the international coalition and impose appropriate sanctions against China's passing of the controversial National Security Law for Hong Kong given that it is an infringement of the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ framework.

Response by the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne

The Sino British Joint Declaration guarantees Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy and that rights and freedoms, including those of the person, of the press, of assembly, of association and others, will be ensured by law. Canada joins the international community in reiterating its serious concern at the imposition of national security legislation for Hong Kong by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of China. The legislation was enacted in a secretive process, without the participation of Hong Kong’s legislature, judiciary or people, and in violation of international obligations.

Canada has stated on several occasions, through public declarations and private conversations with the Chinese government, that the imposition of a national security law on Hong Kong lies in direct conflict with China’s international obligations under the principles of the legally binding, UN registered Sino British Joint Declaration. The national security law also raises the prospect of prosecution in Hong Kong for political crimes, and undermines the “One Country, Two Systems” framework and existing commitments to protect the rights of the people of Hong Kong. Canada believes this new legislation will only exacerbate tensions in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and undermine the confidence of the people of Hong Kong and of the international community. With an estimated 300,000 Canadians living in Hong Kong, Canada has a vested interest in Hong Kong’s stability and prosperity—the foundation of which is Hong Kong’s relative autonomy and basic freedoms. Regarding the political unrest and demonstrations, Canada continues to urge all sides to exercise restraint, refrain from violence and engage in peaceful dialogue. The right to peaceful protest is protected by Hong Kong law and international rules and norms.

Canada has been working diligently with close allies and has urged Chinese leaders not to unilaterally impose the national security law on the people of Hong Kong. On May 22, 2020, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom released a joint statement to express common concerns over the national security law planned by Beijing. On May 28, 2020, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States released another statement, reiterating their concerns. On June 17, 2020, the Minister of Foreign Affairs joined the foreign ministers of the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom, and the High Representative of the European Union to release a joint statement urging the Government of China to reconsider its decision. It is critical that the international community stands together to condemn this unprecedented move by the central government.

In June 2020, during the 44th session of the HRC, Canada and 27 other countries signed a joint statement on the human rights situations in Hong Kong and Xinjiang. During the 45th session of the HRC (September 2020), Canada co-hosted a side event on Rights and Freedoms in Hong Kong with the UK and Australia. At the UN General Assembly’s Third Committee (October 6, 2020), Canada co-signed, along with 38 other countries, a joint statement on the human rights situations in Xinjiang and Hong Kong. China’s decision to impose the national security law on Hong Kong, fundamentally shifted the foundation of Canada’s existing arrangements. As of July 3, 2020, Canada will treat exports of sensitive goods to Hong Kong in the same way as those destined for China. Canada will not permit the export of sensitive military items to Hong Kong. Canada has also suspended the Canada-Hong Kong extradition treaty. Finally, Canada has updated the travel advice for Hong Kong in order to advise Canadians of the potential impacts of the new national security legislation.

Canada has also raised concerns over Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s decision on July 31, 2020 to postpone Legislative Council elections for a year. On August 9, 2020, Canada jointly released a statement of concern alongside its Five Eyes counterparts, calling on the Hong Kong authorities to reinstate disqualified candidates so that the elections can take place in an environment conducive to the exercise of democratic rights and freedoms, as enshrined in the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China.

Canada is judicious in its approach regarding when to deploy sanctions and/or draw on other courses of action in our diplomatic toolkit based on foreign policy priorities. The regulations enacted under the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act allow the Government of Canada to target individuals who are, in the opinion of the government, responsible for, or complicit in, gross violations of internationally recognized human rights or acts of significant corruption. Canada takes the matter of listing individuals under the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act very seriously. A rigorous due diligence process has been established to consider and evaluate possible cases of human rights violations or corruption anywhere in the world against the criteria set out in the Act, within the context of other ongoing efforts to promote human rights and combat corruption. The Government of Canada tailors its responses to the specifics of each unique situation.

As populations around the world stand together to defeat the COVID 19 virus, the international community must also stand together to ensure that the free, stable and prosperous nature of Hong Kong is maintained. Be assured that Canada will continue to closely monitor the situation in Hong Kong and raises concerns publicly and privately with officials as needed.

Open for signature
June 15, 2020, at 2:15 p.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
July 15, 2020, at 2:15 p.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Kenny Chiu (Steveston—Richmond East)
September 24, 2020 (Petition No. 432-00001)
Government response tabled
November 16, 2020
Photo - Kenny Chiu
Steveston—Richmond East
Conservative Caucus
British Columbia
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