Hong Kong — UK Government “Deeply Concerned”

  • “We are obviously deeply concerned about the decision to pass the national security law in Beijing as it affects Hong Kong.”
  • The UK transferred Hong Kong to China in 1997 on the conditions the city would retain certain freedoms.
  • Tam Yiu-Chung, a pro-Beijing politician in Hong Kong, said that he is optimistic the law will serve as a deterrent to prevent people from stirring up trouble.

The British government is “deeply concerned” about the controversial new Hong Kong Security Law, passed Tuesday by Chinese President Xi Jinping. Specifically, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it may breach a treaty between London and Beijing. He added his government was considering what response to give.

The Hong Kong national security law is a decision adopted by the third session of the thirteenth National People’s Congress, to authorize the National People’s Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC) to promulgate a national security law in Hong Kong. The pan-democratic camp, human rights organisations and politicians abroad have criticised the decision as a threat to the “one country, two systems” principle, the rule of law and civil liberties.

“We are obviously deeply concerned about the decision to pass the national security law in Beijing as it affects Hong Kong,” the Prime Minister told reporters today after a speech in Dudley, central England, about an economic recovery plan.

Johnson said London would “be looking at the law very carefully and we will want to scrutinise it properly to understand whether it is in conflict with the Joint Declaration between the UK and China.”

“We will be setting out our response in due course,” Johnson added. The United Kingdom transferred Hong Kong to the administration of China in 1997, on the condition that the former colony maintains certain freedoms, in addition to judicial and legislative autonomy for 50 years.

The text promulgated on Tuesday has been opposed by many western countries as it contravenes basic fundamental freedoms of Hong Kong residents. However, Beijing insists that it is merely aimed at at prohibiting secessionsubversion of state powerterrorist activities, and foreign interference in Hong Kong. The Special Administrative Region was the scene of violent pro-democracy protests in 2019 and early this year. 

“The rapid rise of unprecedented violence and calls for independence coupled with a dysfunctional [legislative council] left Beijing government with no alternatives but to enact a law with the hope of preventing the worse from happening,” Ronny Tong, a member of the Executive Council, Hong Kong’s de facto cabinet, told Time magazine.

“We can only hope that a proper balance will be struck between protecting national safety and integrity on the one hand and preserving the freedoms and core values of the people of Hong Kong on the other,” he added.

The transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong, commonly known as the handover of Hong Kong (or simply the Handover, also the Return in mainland China), occurred at midnight at the start of 1 July 1997. In accordance with the “One country, two systems” principle agreed between the United Kingdom and the People’s Republic of China, the socialist system of the People’s Republic of China would not be practised in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), and Hong Kong’s previous capitalist system and its way of life would remain unchanged for a period of 50 years.

On his part, Tam Yiu-Chung, a pro-Beijing politician in Hong Kong, said that he is optimistic the law will serve as a deterrent to prevent people from stirring up trouble and prevent Hong Kong from being used as a tool to split the country.  Tam is the SAR’s sole representative on the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, which approved the law on Tuesday morning.

Elsewhere, UK Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dominic Raab, regretted today in a statement, that Beijing did not back down on the application of the law initially approved on May 28 by the National People’s Congress, the main Chinese legislative body. 

“Despite the urging of the international community, Beijing has chosen not to step back from imposing this legislation,” Raab said in a statement. “China has ignored its international obligations regarding Hong Kong. This is a grave step, which is deeply troubling, he said.

“We urgently need to see the full legislation, and will use that to determine whether there has been a breach of the Joint Declaration and what further action the UK will take.” Raab added.

The United States, European Union, Australia, Canada, Japan and New Zealand have also previously expressed concern about the new controversial security law.

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Vincent Ferdinand

News reporting is my thing. My view of what is happening in our world is colored by my love of history and how the past influences events taking place in the present time.  I like reading politics and writing articles. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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