Weighing in on the sweeping changes introduced by China in Hong Kong’s electoral system, the UK on March 13 issued a striking statement saying Beijing is ‘no longer compliant’ with financial capital’s joint declaration. China’s national legislature on Thursday approved a resolution to drastically overpower Hong Kong’s electoral system in a bid to ensure that only “patriots” can rule the city.
Denouncing the move, the British foreign minister Domonic Raab on Saturday said in a statement that the “radical changes” that Beijing imposed on the city is a “clear breach of the legally binding Sino-British Joint Declaration”, a treaty that was signed between the UK and China at the time of Hong Kong’s handover.
Raab said, “This is part of a pattern designed to harass and stifle all voices critical of China’s policies and is the third breach of the Joint Declaration in less than nine months.”
“The Chinese authorities’ continued action means I must now report that the UK considers Beijing to be in a state of ongoing non-compliance with the Joint Declaration - a demonstration of the growing gulf between Beijing’s promises and its actions,” he added.
China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) passed the resolution which is also the biggest shake-up to Hong Kong’s electoral system reportedly since its return to China in 1997 under ‘One Country, Two Systems’ arrangements. The same body last year had approved the national security law to crackdown the pro-democracy forces in the former British colony.
Earlier, the intergovernmental organisation, the Group of Seven (G7) on March 12 demanded China to honour its commitments towards Hong Kong and “end the unwarranted oppression” of democratic activists after Beijing shook-up the financial capital’s electoral system. A striking statement released by G7 nations including the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Canada, and Japan, said that the sweeping changes introduced by China will “stifle political pluralism”. G7, whose rotating presidency is with the UK this year, expressed “grave concerns” over China’s advancements to “erode democratic elements.”
“Such a decision strongly indicates that the authorities in mainland China are determined to eliminate dissenting voices and opinions in Hong Kong... We also call on China and the Hong Kong authorities to restore confidence in Hong Kong’s political institutions and end the unwarranted oppression of those who promote democratic values and the defence of rights and freedoms,” said G7.