Statement on the 2021 Hong Kong Legislative Council Elections

December 19, 2021

This year’s Legislative Council elections mark a sobering milestone in the Chinese government’s dismantling of Hong Kong’s democracy, freedoms and autonomy.

The elections will be the first to take place since changes made under the ‘patriot’ electoral reform law; changes that have slashed the number of directly contested seats and require candidates to be screened by government officials. The elections will also be the first since the passage of the National Security Law in June 2020, since which all of Hong Kong’s major opposition leaders are now in jail or exile.

These elections will therefore be little more than an exhibition in authoritarianism. By preventing certain candidates from standing, the Hong Kong authorities have stripped from the ballot box the democratic principles upon which free and fair elections must rely.

We call on our governments to support efforts to hold the Chinese government accountable under the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties for continual violations of international law. We also call on our governments to implement targeted, punitive measures against the Chinese and Hong Kong officials responsible for the undermining of Hong Kong’s constitutional settlement.

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