Relations between London and Beijing have soured
Britain has accused China of another clear violation of the Sino-British joint statement on Hong Kong. London now sees Beijing as a contract party that no longer fulfills its obligations.
Britain has accused China of “another clear” violation of the Sino-British joint statement on Hong Kong. Foreign Minister Dominic Robb said on Saturday that “Beijing’s decision to introduce radical changes to restrict participation in the Hong Kong electoral system is a clear violation of the legally binding Sino-British joint declaration.” London now sees Beijing as a contract party that no longer fulfills its obligations.
The People’s Congress of China on Thursday introduced an amendment to the Electoral Code in the Special Administrative Region, ensuring that Hong Kong can only be run by “patriots”. In the eyes of critics, this would further undermine the autonomy of the Chinese Special Administrative Region. Beijing wants to control candidate selection with this move. Among other things, the Chinese leadership is to be given veto rights to exclude certain candidates.
On Saturday, Rob said Beijing’s decision was “part of a model” designed to “persecute” and “repress” critics of Chinese politics. Electoral reform is the third violation of the Sino-British declaration in nine months. “The United Kingdom will continue to stand for the people of Hong Kong,” Rob continued. “China must act in accordance with its legal obligations and respect the fundamental rights and freedoms in Hong Kong.”
Relations between the UK and China have deteriorated over Beijing’s repression of government critics in Hong Kong. When it was handed over to China in 1997, the former British Crown Colony was granted special rights for 50 years, including freedom of expression and assembly. Status as a Special Administrative Region is mentioned in the 1984 British-Chinese Joint Declaration.
With the so-called Security Act for the Special Administrative Region last year, the Chinese leadership greatly increased the pressure on government opponents and pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong. The law allows them to dismantle any action they believe threatens China’s national security, and marks the most serious encroachment on Hong Kong’s autonomy to date.