UK member of the European Parliament Julie Ward received an SOS message from a student inside Hong Kong’s Polytechnic University, saying many of those trapped had written their own death notes after their campus was besieged by police.
“It was a cry for help,” Julie Ward said of the message which was forwarded to her through a friend on Nov. 17. “It was directly here on my phone.”
“[They are] hard working, bright, students. Under siege. In their universities. On the receiving end of police violence,” Ward said.
Ward has called on the European Union’s foreign-policy chief, along with 50 other members of the European Parliament, for an independent investigation into the use of force by Hong Kong Police, against protesters.
In July, the European Parliament proposed a resolution, calling for appropriate controls to be put in place to deny exports of technology which is used to violate human rights in Hong Kong and China.
The EU has also shown support for Hong Kong. The EU’s foreign policy chief, Frederica Mogherini has issued public statements, including one this month saying any violence in the former British colony is unacceptable.
But some members of the bloc, which is made of 28 European member states, say the EU should prepare to take a stronger stance.
“We have to take action, to do something, both diplomatically, and add pressure. I think eventually trade will have to follow,” UK member of the European Parliament Sheila Ritchie said. “It’s going to have to come from a lot more than a little island on the left side of Europe.”
According to the draft agenda of the human rights committee, next Monday, prominent Hong Kong pro-democracy protester Joshua Wong is set to speak in a European Parliament meeting in Brussels, via video link.
US Support for Hong Kong
The United States government has shown strong support for Hong Kong protesters.
U.S. President Donald Trump on Nov. 27 signed into law two human rights bills in support of protesters in Hong Kong, the White House said in a statement.
Last week, both the Senate and House passed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act (S.1838), which would require the United States to review annually Hong Kong’s special trading relationship, and pave the way for sanctions against Chinese and Hong Kong officials responsible for human rights violations in the city.
Congress also passed legislation (S.2710) that would prohibit the export of control equipment to Hong Kong police, who have been accused of using violence and heavy-handed tactics to quell demonstrations.
“I signed these bills out of respect for President Xi, China, and the people of Hong Kong,” Trump said in a statement. “They are being enacted in the hope that Leaders and Representatives of China and Hong Kong will be able to amicably settle their differences leading to long term peace and prosperity for all.”
Under the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, the U.S. Secretary of State is required to certify annually whether Hong Kong is “sufficiently autonomous” to justify its special economic status granted under the United States–Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992.
The Policy Act has allowed the United States to deal with Hong Kong separately from the mainland in matters of trade, investment, and immigration since the city reverted to Chinese rule in 1997. For instance, the city isn’t subject to the current U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports.
“The Act reaffirms and amends the United States-Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992, specifies United States policy towards Hong Kong, and direct assessment of the political developments in Hong Kong,” Trump said in another statement.
Trump said that “certain provisions of the Act would interfere with the exercise of the President’s constitutional authority to state the foreign policy of the United States,” and that the U.S. administration will “treat each of the provisions of the Act consistently with the President’s constitutional authorities with respect to foreign relations.”
Hong Kong has seen renewed protests after a peaceful day on Nov. 24, when the city’s pro-democracy camp scored a landslide victory against the pro-Beijing establishment in local elections.
With reporting by Jane Werrell and Yang Lixin. Epoch Times reporter Eva Fu contributed to this report.