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Lord Ashdown in HongKong

January 25, 2018 9:33 AM
By Kevin Cheung

Lord Paddy Ashdown at FCCLord Paddy Ashdown, Liberal Democrat leader and Patron of CLDs, had a two-day fact-finding mission to Hong Kong (27 Nov 2017 - 28 Nov 2017).

Speaking to the Foreign Correspondents' Club, Lord Ashdown said Britain must remember its obligations to its former colony Hong Kong, even as it pursues post-Brexit trade deals with Beijing.

"This is not a promise that can be lightly laid aside because it proves inconvenient to a British government obsessed with finding trade deals because it wishes to be outside Europe. As Chris Patten [former Hong Kong governor] has said, Britain risks selling its honor here,'' Ashdown said.

He added that it is in Beijing's interest to demonstrate that it is living up to its obligations to uphold human rights and freedoms in Hong Kong agreed under the Sino-British Joint Declaration in 1984.

"One Country, Two Systems is the slogan under which Beijing may want to draw others back to the fold," he said. "Honoring scrupulously the Anglo-Chinese deal in both letter and spirit will enhance that possibility. Any perceived failure to do so will weaken it."

In view of the alleged kidnap of Causeway Bay bookseller Lee Bo and prosecution of prominent student leaders Nathan Law, Joshua Wong Chi-fung and Alex Chow over a protest that sparked the 2014 Occupy Movement, Lord Ashdown suggested that some of Beijing's actions undermines confidence both in the rule of law and in the principle of free speech.

Ashdown also met student leaders, lawmakers and representatives from the legal sector during his trip.

As reported by Kevin Cheung, CLD intern (2013) and staff member of the Legislative Council of the Hongkong SAR.