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UK Parliament accountable to the People of Hong Kong

March 10, 2020 8:38 AM

Bauhina flagChinese Liberal Democrats are pleased that there will be a motion to be debated at Spring Conference on Hong Kong. Over the last 2 years we had supported Emergency motions on Hong Kong, competing unsuccessfully for votes in ballots where there were many other worthy causes. However, this year a motion on Hong Kong is firmly on the Agenda, set down for debate on Saturday 14 March at 9.30am.

"Conference calls for:
1. The Liberal Democrats to pursue in Parliament all routes to ensuring that the UK honours
our legal and moral duty to the people of Hong Kong by reopening the British National
(Overseas) Passport offer, extending the scheme to provide the right to abode to all holders.

2. The UK government to use Britain's diplomatic and trading relationship with China to help
ensure Beijing refrains from using excessive or military force to end the protests.

3. The UK government to ensure that the UK and our international partners indefinitely
suspend all export licenses for crowd control equipment to HK.

4. The UK Government to continue to implement and account for the recommendations made by Parliament's Joint Committee on Human Rights in March 2019 to monitor and take appropriate measures, for any erosion of autonomy, rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Joint Declaration and enshrined in the Basic Law."

A group of 4 CLD Exec members worked on 3 amendments, which were submitted by 10 of our members along with Libdems Overseas (a local party). However, only one amendment i.e. the new point 4 was accepted.

The two rejected were:
Replace point 2 with "The UK Government to exercise its moral and legal responsibility for Hong Kong [under the Basic Law] to ensure an independent enquiry, which is open and transparent, is held to investigate the escalation of violence between the protestors and police".

Replace point 3 with "The UK Government to review the use of crowd control equipment in Hong Kong and, if necessary, to suspend the export of such equipment to Hong Kong".

The amendment introducing new point 4 will be proposed by George Cunningham, Chair of LibDems Overseas and summated by Cllr Sarah Cheung Johnson, Vice-Chair of CLDs.

We need to remind the UK Government and Parliament that UK has obligations under the Sino-British Joint Declaration for the rights, well-being and future of the people of Hong Kong as enshrined in the Basic Law. We have a duty to monitor the situation on the ground where there has been reports of deterioration in human rights for all people in Hong Kong and to urge the UK Government to take appropriate action as required. We must honour our obligations to the British National (Overseas) passport holders and be prepared to offer asylum to those who seek it.

However, we are aware that there is a divergence of views. Some of us would support the motion wholly as written, others may agree only with a part of it and perhaps some not at all. If you are going to the Spring Conference, please attend the debate, consider the issues and decide accordingly.