Thursday, 8 August 2019

Campaign response - Uphold the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration

I am grateful to constituents who have written to me recently regarding the situation in Hong Kong and the Sino-British Joint Declaration.

The human rights and democratic situation in Hong Kong is one that I have recently taken a strong interest and have spoken about in the House of Commons. For instance, I have recently presented a petition in Parliament on behalf of over 160,000+ British subjects in Hong Kong, many of whom are seeking British diplomatic assistance and protection in Hong Kong and others are seeking sanctuary in the UK for fear of political persecution:

There is no question that the doctrine of “one country, two systems” in Hong Kong have come under attack recently.

It is regrettable that 30 years since the democratic protests in Tiananmen Square were brutally crushed by the Chinese Government, hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong people have to resort to marching on the streets to defend their democracy and basic freedoms such as the freedom of expression and freedom of the press.

These right were supposedly guaranteed to Hong Kong in the Sino-British Joint Declaration, a bilateral political treaty which remains as valid today as when it was signed 35 years ago.

The British Government is a signatory to the Joint Declaration and as a result we have a joint responsibility with the Chinese Government to ensure that the terms and the spirit of the treaty are upheld and protected.

With Brexit, we have a chance to build a more constructive relationship with the Chinese Government as we negotiate a new trade deal with them.

Our relations should not be driven solely by trade. FCO needs a more clearly articulated framework of values when dealing with Chinese counterparts.

Britain has always had a proud tradition of speaking up for democracy, the rule of law and basic human rights around the world. We must not be afraid to challenge the Chinese Government on these matters where we have concerns.

Once Parliament returns in September, I will of course, be more than happy to speak to the new Foreign Secretary on your and many other constituents’ behalf about Hong Kong, and reiterate our need to fulfil the obligations of the Joint Declaration.

As we deliver Brexit we also have a once in a lifetime opportunity to regain control of our borders. With that comes the ability to prevent unwelcomed visitors, including those who have been accused of gross violations of human rights and other basic rights in Hong Kong and elsewhere. I am aware that a number of my parliamentary colleagues on both sides of the House are calling on the UK Government to place sanctions against those individuals who have been identified as being complicit in the latest escalation and undermining the values and institutions that the UK is a guarantor of under the Join Declaration. I will be supporting these efforts in the Commons and elsewhere.