Hong Kong

Thank you for contacting me about the situation in Hong Kong.

The recent protests in Hong Kong make it even more important for the UK Government to be unwavering in its commitment to the Sino-British Joint Declaration. It is a legally-binding treaty and remains as valid today as it did when it was signed and ratified over thirty years ago.

There would be serious consequences if the legally-binding agreement between the UK and China is violated.

I am glad the Foreign Secretary sent a clear message to the Chinese Government. Good relations between countries are based on mutual respect and honouring the legally binding agreements between them. That is the best way to preserve the great relationship between the UK and China.

It is imperative that Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy, and the rights and freedoms of the Hong Kong people, are fully respected in line with the Joint Declaration and the Hong Kong Basic Law. The UK Government has made its position on this clear to the Chinese Government, both publicly and in private, and will continue to do so.

Under the 'One Country, Two Systems' model, the proposed amendments to Hong Kong's extradition legislation are a matter for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) Government. However, I welcome Chief Executive Carrie Lam's statement that she would not proceed with the second reading of the bill.

It is also welcome that the UK Government has urged the Hong Kong SAR Government to establish a robust, independent investigation into the violent scenes that we have seen. The outcome of that investigation will inform the UK Government’s assessment of future export license applications to the Hong Kong Police. As a result, the UK Government will not issue any further export licenses for crowd control equipment to Hong Kong unless it is satisfied that concerns raised on human rights and fundamental freedoms have been thoroughly addressed.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

Craig Whittaker MP

August 2019.