Madrid, 13 years old (Europe Press)
On Saturday, the British government accused China of failing to comply with the 1984 UK-China Joint Declaration in which London agreed to return Hong Kong to China in exchange for Beijing’s commitment to granting a broad degree of political autonomy to the former British colony.
Consequently, the United Kingdom considers China to be in “a state of continuous non-compliance” with the declaration, and has condemned Beijing’s decision to amend the election process for the Hong Kong government.
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said this was the third violation of the declaration in less than nine months, “a pattern designed to harass and suppress voices critical of China’s policies.”
He added that “Beijing’s decision to impose radical changes to restrict participation in the electoral system of Hong Kong is a new and clear breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration, which is legally binding.”
“The continued action by the Chinese authorities means that I am now compelled to report that the UK considers Beijing to be in a state of continued non-compliance with the joint statement, which is a testament to the increasing distance between promises and Beijing’s actions,” Burchim said.
In this regard, Raab reiterates his “support for the people of Hong Kong.” “China should act in accordance with its legal obligations and respect fundamental rights and freedoms in Hong Kong,” he said.
Political tension between the two countries has recently escalated due to protests in Hong Kong, a region that remained under British sovereignty until 1997. The imposition of the National Security Act and recent electoral reform have exacerbated the situation.
Tensions have escalated since China imposed a new national security law in Hong Kong, making it easier to crack down on protesters.
The Joint Declaration was signed by the United Kingdom and China in 1984. London has insisted that it must protect independence and important freedoms in Hong Kong.
Raab was supported by the G7 foreign ministers. They expressed their concerns about the apparent erosion of democratic elements in Hong Kong’s electoral system.
“We also call on China and the Hong Kong authorities to restore confidence in Hong Kong’s political institutions and end the unjustified repression of those who promote democratic values and defend rights and freedoms,” the statement said.
The European Union also raised its concerns on Friday. Josep Borrell, High Representative and Vice President of the European Union, said China has “consciously dismantled the principle of” one country, two systems “in violation of its international obligations and Hong Kong Basic Law. Australia and New Zealand also raised separate concerns.
The Hong Kong government said it strongly opposes the remarks that question China’s desire to support “one country, two systems”, describing it as a “baseless accusation.”