The United Kingdom condemned on Saturday that China’s decision to impose changes to Hong Kong’s electoral system is a “new violation” of the Joint Declaration on Sovereignty it signed on these former British territories.
In a statement, Foreign Minister Dominic Raab urged the Chinese government to respect “its legal obligations, rights and fundamental freedoms” in Hong Kong.
The agreement was signed between London and Beijing in 1984, before the United Kingdom returned Hong Kong to the People’s Republic of China in 1997, and was intended to assuage concerns about the future of the territory governed by a non-democratic communist regime.
This agreement guarantees Hong Kong a special financial status and economic freedom, as well as self-government and civil liberties that do not exist in the rest of China.
According to British Minister Dominic Raab, Beijing’s decision “to impose radical changes restricting participation in the Hong Kong electoral system” is a “clear violation” of what was agreed upon between London and Beijing regarding Hong Kong.
Hong Kong was the scene of mass pro-democracy demonstrations, some of them violent, in 2019 against Beijing’s intervention.
Since then, the Chinese government has cracked down on dissent, arrested dozens of activists and imposed a strict national security law.
On Thursday, the Chinese parliament paved the way to impose electoral reform in the enclave, and approved a bill that would authorize an “electoral commission”, affiliated to Beijing, to select candidates for the legislative elections in the autonomous region.
jwp / wdb / mis / es / me