Jailing of Hong Kong activists 'impacts EU-China ties'
Prison sentences handed to pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong erode basic freedoms in the territory and "impact EU-China relations", the office of the EU's top foreign policy official warned on Friday.
"The lengthy imprisonment of some of the individuals for non-violent acts when exercising protected civic rights is a further sign of the continued diminution of the democratic space and erosion of fundamental freedoms in Hong Kong," Borrell's spokesperson said in a statement.
"These developments in Hong Kong call into question China's will to uphold its international commitments, undermine trust, and impact EU-China relations," the statement said.
The text was issued in reaction to the sentencing in Hong Kong on Friday of 10 pro-democracy figures in two separate cases.
Among them was Jimmy Lai, a media tycoon, who was jailed for 14 months after being found guilty of having a role in two rallies in 2019, during the peak of a democratic uprising that paralysed Hong Kong for months.
The EU statement named him along with the nine others sentenced: Martin Lee, Albert Ho, Margaret Ng, Cyd Ho, Lee Cheuk-yan, Leung Kwok-hung, Au Nok-hin, Leung Yiu-chung and Yeung Sum.
"The exercise of fundamental freedoms, including peaceful assembly, must be ensured, as guaranteed in the Hong Kong Basic Law and in the Sino-British Joint Declaration," the statement said.