BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union will restrict innovation exports to Hong Kong that may be used for repression or security, an EU draft file seen by Reuters stated, in the bloc’s first concrete reaction to the Chinese security clampdown on the territory.
Revealing “severe concern” for a sweeping national security law imposed by China on the previous British colony, the 27 EU states settled on Friday to a series of sanctions, consisting of trade curbs and an evaluation of visa contracts with the area.
The file, backed by EU ambassadors, says the bloc will be “additional scrutinising and limiting exports of particular sensitive equipment and innovations for end-use in Hong Kong, in particular where there are premises to believe unfavorable usage connecting to internal repression, the interception of internal interactions or cybersurveillance”.
The document is anticipated to get in into force on Tuesday.
The Beijing-drafted national security law penalizes what China broadly defines as subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces with up to life in prison.
Critics of the law fear it will squash the wide-ranging flexibilities promised to the area when it went back to Chinese rule in 1997, consisting of the right to protest and an independent legal system.
Fans of the law state it will bring stability after last year’s often-violent anti-government and anti-China unrest.
The European Union also devoted to “thinking about the implications of the nationwide security legislation for asylum, migration, visa and home policy”, the document said.
The bloc will not release any brand-new negotiation with Hong Kong for the time being and will evaluate the implications of the security law on existing arrangements it has with Hong Kong.
The concurred procedures could be used by the European Union or its member states “as deemed suitable”, the file states.
The European Union reiterated its support for Hong Kong’s autonomy and its people, vowing to additional engaging with the civil society there.
The impact of the embraced measures will be examined prior to completion of the year.
Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska, writing by Francesco Guarascio @fraguarascio; Editing by Nick Macfie