The United States on Wednesday slammed China for the recent disqualification of four Hong Kong opposition lawmakers and said that sanctions will continue to be imposed on “those responsible for extinguishing Hong Kong’s freedom”. According to an official statement issued by National Security Advisor Robert C O’Brien, “Beijing’s recent actions disqualifying pro-democracy legislators from Hong Kong’s Legislative Council leave no doubt that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has flagrantly violated its international commitments under the Sino-British Joint Declaration and its promises to the people of Hong Kong, including those under the Basic Law.”

He further said that “One Country, Two Systems” has become merely a “fig leaf covering for the CCP’s expanding one-party dictatorship in Hong Kong”. “The United States will continue to utilize all the powers granted under the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, the Hong Kong Autonomy Act, and the Executive Order on Hong Kong Normalization to identify and sanction those responsible for extinguishing Hong Kong’s freedom,” he added.

Earlier, four Hong Kong opposition lawmakers were disqualified with immediate effect after the National People’s Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC) passed the resolution, South China Morning Post reported. Following this, all Hong Kong’s opposition lawmakers resigned together in the protest of China’s top legislative body’s resolution, which gives local authorities power to unseat politicians without having to go through the city’s courts, Hong Kong Free Press reported.

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Democratic Party lawmaker Wu Chi-wai, convenor of the pro-democracy bloc slammed Beijing resolution as “ridiculous” and said the decision signaled Beijing complete abandonment of the Basic Law. “Hong Kong, from today onward, can no longer tell the world that there is ‘one country, two systems’,” Wu said.

The lawmakers unseated on Wednesday were the Civic Party’s Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu, Kwok Ka-ki and Dennis Kwok, alongside Kenneth Leung of the Professionals Guild, who were previously barred from running in the now-postponed Legislative Council elections, originally slated for September.

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