The foreign ministers of Five Eyes member nations condemned China on Thursday for incursions on Hong Kong autonomy - most recently the disqualification of four opposition legislators last week.
Four opposition Legco members were forced to quit Nov. 11 after the National People's Congress in Beijing passed a resolution requiring "patriotism" from all Hong Kong legislators. The remaining 15 members of the legislative assembly's pan-democrat bloc resigned in protest.
"We urge the Chinese central authorities to reconsider their actions against Hong Kong's elected legislature and immediately reinstate the Legislative Council members," the governments of Australia, Canada, the U.S., New Zealand and the UK said in a joint statement.
The Five Eyes - a signals intelligence alliance made up of five western democracies - have spoken up previously about Hong Kong politics, including a recent election delay.
"Following the imposition of the National Security Law and postponement of September's Legislative Council elections, this decision [to disqualify the four members] further undermines Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy and rights and freedoms," the alliance said Thursday.
These rights and freedoms are assured until 2047 according to the Sino-British Joint Declaration, which later became Hong Kong's mini-constitution - or the Basic Law - as a means to honor China's obligations under the treaty.
"The National People's Congress is not empowered to 'interpret' Hong Kong ordinances or regulations under the Basic Law," said New York University legal scholar Dr. Alvin Cheung in an interview with Business Times this week.
Amending the requirements for Hong Kong's elected officials "breaches both China's commitment that Hong Kong will enjoy a 'high degree of autonomy', and the right to freedom of speech," the Five Eyes alliance warned.
In response, member states may deploy more sanctions against China. "We will continue to consider designations under our Magnitsky-style sanctions regime," Britain's minister for Asia, Nigel Adams, told parliament Nov. 12.
Following the passage of the city's National Security Law in July, the U.S. imposed two rounds of sanctions on Hong Kong and mainland officials. In light of last week's events, American officials have urged Canada to consider similar measures.