China is no longer complying with the Sino-British declaration in Hong Kong, the British Foreign Office said.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab pointed out that China has adopted comprehensive changes to Hong Kong’s electoral system.
“Beijing’s decision to introduce radical changes to limit participation in Hong Kong’s electoral system is another clear violation of the legally binding Sino-British joint statement,” Raab said in a statement on Saturday.
The Beijing People’s Congress this week decided to amend the law so China’s central authorities have far more influence over who sits in Hong Kong’s own elected assembly.
– Suppress criticism
“This is part of a pattern meant to harass and suppress all voices critical of China’s policies, and it is the third violation of the Joint Declaration in less than nine months,” Raab said.
Aftenposten believes: Farewell to democracy in Hong Kong
– I must now report that the UK considers that Beijing is in a state where they are not complying with the Sino-British Joint Declaration, he continued.
The statement is likely to further worsen relations between the two countries.
Gotta curb the fear
The Joint Declaration between Britain and China was signed before British colonial powers returned Hong Kong to China in 1997. The agreement is valid until 2047 and is meant to allay fears for Hong Kong’s future under an authoritarian regime.
This guarantees Hong Kong’s privilege as one of the world’s leading trade and financial centers. In addition, the region should have a great degree of autonomy as well as freedom of expression. The scheme came to be known as “one country – two systems”.
Chris Patten, who was governor when Britain handed the colony to China in 1997, previously told The Times of London that we are seeing a new dictatorship in China that is unreliable.
Conditions are getting tense
Britain has sharply criticized the way in which mass demonstrations in Hong Kong have been crushed and the treatment of activists who have spearheaded the protests.
As a result, the former colonial power allowed millions of Hong Kong Chinese citizens to apply for British citizenship, angering Beijing.
Raab believes that China’s new election law for Hong Kong is “a demonstration of the growing distance between China’s promises and actions.”
“The UK will continue to defend the people of Hong Kong,” he said, calling on China to comply with its legal obligations and respect fundamental rights and freedoms in Hong Kong.
China points out that Hong Kong failed to introduce its own security laws, as it intended after the area was returned to China. Authorities believe it is necessary to quell the protests to maintain security and defend China’s interests.