President of China, xi jinping

 

Highlights

•US allies band conspire together against china

• Four Countries are against Chinese new law

• UK and Australia has already extended visas for Hong kongers

Chinese President Xi Jinping surprised the world with a speech at Davos in 2017, defending free trade and joint action on climate change as then US president-elect Donald Trump argued for precisely the opposite. It might have been an over ambitious pitch by Xi to position China as the world’s next leader, but it also seemed a genuine sign that Beijing was committing to the international rules-based order.

Today, the warmth in the room at Davos has all but gone.

US allies band together against chinese

The coronavirus pandemic has transformed the world and now some of those leaders who were so impressed by Xi’s vision for China are complaining of Beijing’s state secrecy, misinformation and the muzzling of whistleblowers during the initial stages of the coronavirus outbreak, allegations the Chinese government firmly denies. Beijing is used to such diplomatic skirmishes, but something has shifted: Countries that once condemned China softly have become louder and their actions bolder. They are clearly coordinating their China responses, looking for strength in numbers.

This coordination has been most obvious in their strong reactions to China’s imposition of a controversial National Security Law, which undermines Hong Kong’s autonomy, a status that was supposed to be guaranteed until 2047 by a legal agreement with the United Kingdom.

The language used and actions taken by Western powers to condemn this law has, in many cases, been the same.

Take the Five Eyes, an intelligence-based partnership between the US, UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Four of its members issued a swift joint statement condemning China for passing the law, and defending Hong Kong as a “bastion of freedom,” in a rare open show of unity. Only New Zealand opted out of the statement.

The UK has confirmed it will open a pathway for citizenship for Hong Kong residents with the right to a British National Overseas passport, which includes potentially around 3 million Hong Kongers. UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said he had raised the issue of “burden sharing” with the Five Eyes, if there is a mass exodus from the city.

Four countries are defending Hong Kong against the new law

Australia has already extended visas for Hong Kongers in the country, also opening a route for citizenship, while Canada is looking at ways to “boost” migration from the city. Australia has suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong, as has Canada, while the US, UK and New Zealand are all reviewing their treaties.

And the European Union’s top diplomat Josep Borrell also warned Monday the bloc was coordinating its response, though he said nothing concrete had been decided yet.

 

NP/Fatimah/CNN

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