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An open letter to the Secretary of State for FCO on the HKSAR - Upholding the Rights and Freedoms of its Citizens

August 2, 2019 1:03 AM

Dear Secretary of State

Re: The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) - Upholding the Rights and Freedoms of its Citizens

A peaceful protest was held in Hong Kong on 21st July 2019 to demand the HKSAR government meet a five point demand, including the withdrawal of the Extradition Bill Amendment, retracting the definition of the movement as a 'riot', and setting up an independent commission to investigate the police action on 21st June 2019.

Following the scenes of violent attacks by thugs to punish ordinary HK protesters in Yuen Long on the 21st July, we request that you write to express to your counterpart in the Chinese Embassy that the British Government condemns in the strongest terms, these attacks against peaceful protestors and innocent civilians. We believe that the whole free world, as do the Chinese Liberal Democrats, condemn these attacks and would not want to stand by to watch these injustices.

It is the constitutional duty of a Government to protect its citizens from harm. In HKSAR there are 800,000 holders of British National (Overseas) passports whose rights of freedom of free speech are being trampled on. These rights have been guaranteed in the Sino-British Joint Declaration signed in 1984 with the backing of the United Nations. This document preserves rights of individuals to freedom of speech and association for a further 50 years from 1st July 1997 under Article 4 of the Joint Declaration as follows:

"(5) The current social and economic systems in Hong Kong will remain unchanged, and so will the life-style. Rights and freedoms, including those of the person, of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of travel, of movement, of correspondence, of strike, of choice of occupation, of academic research and of religious belief will be ensured by law in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. Private property, ownership of enterprises, legitimate right of inheritance and foreign investment will be protected by law."

Article 11 of The Joint Declaration also says:

"(11) The maintenance of public order in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region will be the responsibility of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region."

The United Kingdom Government and the Government of the Peoples Republic of China agreed to implement the declarations of the preceding texts and its Annexes to the Joint Declaration. There was ratification of the document in 1985 which made this document binding on the parties. So, we members of the Chinese Liberal Democrats, write to ask you to uphold the rights enshrined in The Sino-British Joint Declaration.

On 12 March 2019, the UK Parliament's Joint Committee on Human Rights made two key recommendations regarding the erosion of autonomy, rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Joint Declaration and enshrined in the Basic Law:

1. "The Government should undertake a review of the measures available to it to take action where human rights protections are not respected in practice. Where such human rights protections are not so respected, as reported to the Committee with reference to the Sino-British Joint Declaration, the Government should then take such measures as are appropriate."

2. "We note that the Foreign Affairs Committee is currently inquiring into China and the International Rules Based System. We hope that that Committee will address this issue and that the evidence we have received will provide further background for their consideration of the Sino-British Joint Declaration."

We request an update on whether the review of measures has taken place and, if so, what actions the Government has taken or is planning to take? We also request an update on whether the Foreign Affairs Committee has addressed the concerns raised by the Joint Committee on Human Rights and what conclusions they may have reached? As tensions and unrest continue to rise in Hong Kong, we consider it imperative that you give the matters raised in this letter your urgent attention.

Thank you for your attention.

Yours sincerely

Larry Ngan

Executive Committee Member

For and on behalf of Chinese Liberal Democrats