Hong Kong Protests

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. The Foreign Secretary has said that he will not just gulp and move on, and that he is keeping his options open.

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.

The UK Government will continue to closely monitor events in Hong Kong. I strongly believe that upholding ‘One Country, Two Systems’ is the best way to ensure Hong Kong continues to play a vital role for China, and to continue its role and reputation as a global financial and trading centre for the rest of the world.

UK’s relationship with Hong Kong

Hong Kong remains one of the most thriving, exciting, dynamic cities in the world. It retains its distinctive identity, both within China and internationally. I remain committed to strengthening our rich and wide-ranging relationship with Hong Kong. Tens of thousands of Hong Kong students study in the UK every year. Hundreds of thousands of British citizens are resident in Hong Kong, as well as a significant number of British National (Overseas) Passport holders. The UK and Hong Kong will continue to work together as partners in support of global free trade, and will continue to develop bilateral trade links.

Judicial Independence

The most recent six monthly report on Hong Kong published on 27 March, made clear the UK Government’s view that judicial independence in Hong Kong remains robust. The proposals themselves have no direct impact on judicial independence. However, the UK Government is concerned that the proposals could risk leaving the extradition process open to political interference, and could, in future, undermine Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy and the rights and freedoms guaranteed in the Joint Declaration.

Sino-British Joint Declaration 

The Sino-British Joint Declaration is a legally-binding treaty and remains as valid today as it did when it was signed and ratified over thirty years ago in 1984.

The UK Government believes 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.

 

Last reviewed July 2019