The UK, US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand have accused China of a concerted campaign to silence critical voices in Hong Kong in breach of its international obligations.
Their foreign ministers urged Beijing to reinstate elected members of the territory’s legislature who were arbitrarily dismissed last week.
As China tightens its grip on Hong Kong, international unease is growing.
The UK and its four allies voiced “serious concern” at China’s new rules.
These rules disqualify some elected members of Hong Kong’s Legislative Council.
The foreign ministers say this is a clear breach of China’s legally binding commitments to protect the territory’s freedoms and autonomy.
They accuse Beijing of a concerted campaign to silence critical voices by undermining the rights of people in Hong Kong to elect their representatives.
It is essential for Hong Kong’s stability and prosperity, they say, for people to express their legitimate concerns.
So they urge China to reinstate the legislators and live up to its commitments as a leading member of the international community.
The question now is whether this political pressure will ever be reinforced by economic sanctions.
Find out more about China-Hong Kong tensions here: