I have followed developments in Hong Kong very closely over the last two years. Like our EU partners, Ireland is very concerned about the National Security Law in Hong Kong, which risks undermining the high degree of autonomy of Hong Kong under the One Country, Two Systems principle. The recent decision relating to film restrictions is part of a wider context, under which we have seen the erosion of protected rights and freedoms and the shrinking of civil society space.
Ireland has a strong interest in the continued stability and prosperity of Hong Kong under the One Country, Two Systems principle, underlined by Ireland's long history of engagement, the large Irish community and strong business presence there. The situation in Hong Kong is under continuous review at EU level, following on from the adoption of Council Conclusions on Hong Kong in June 2020. In line with these conclusions, Ireland suspended its Extradition Agreement with Hong Kong in October 2020, which clearly signals Ireland’s concerns in relation to the rule of law in Hong Kong promised under the One Country Two Systems principle.
Ireland fully supports the statement made by the Spokesperson of High Representative Borrell on behalf of the EU on 21 October. It recognises that the National Security Law has had a chilling effect on the exercise of protected rights and freedoms in Hong Kong and has served as the centrepiece of a crackdown on the democratic opposition. Freedom of speech and freedom of expression, often encapsulated in the form of film and art, are key to democratic pluralism and an essential component of every democratic society.
I raised my concerns about the situation in Hong Kong with my Chinese counterpart, State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, during my visit to China in May this year. Ireland continues to voice these issues both bilaterally and in multilateral settings, particularly through UN structures. Through our Consulate General in Hong Kong and our Embassy in Beijing, we continue to monitor and assess the situation closely, and will continue to raise our concerns in dialogue with China.