The escalation of violence and continuing unrest in Hong Kong, including the use of live ammunition, resulting in critical injuries to at least one person, are deeply troubling. The European Union maintains its position that restraint, de-escalation and dialogue are the only way forward. Indeed, they are clearly needed now more than ever and offer the only basis for an enduring solution.
Fundamental freedoms, including the right of assembly of Hong Kongers must continue to be upheld and the possibility to hold peaceful demonstrations must be ensured. These rights must be exercised peacefully. Any violence is unacceptable and any action by the law enforcement authorities must remain strictly proportionate.
There is a clear need for efforts to rebuild trust between the government and the population. The dialogue process recently initiated by the authorities is a welcome first step in this regard.
The European Union recalls its close relations with Hong Kong under the ‘one country, two systems’ principle and its strong stake in its continued stability and prosperity. The EU attaches great importance to Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy, which must be preserved in line with the Basic Law and international commitments. Continued respect for fundamental rights and freedoms, and the independence of the judiciary, remain essential for the development of Hong Kong.