I am writing, as a member of your constituency, to urge you to ensure that Britain upholds its obligations under the terms of the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration.
This legally binding treaty guaranteed that, for 50 years after 1997, Hongkongers’ rights, freedoms and way of life would be safeguarded by law. In particular, the Joint Declaration guaranteed that Hongkongers would enjoy fundamental freedoms, including freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of assembly, among others.
China has breached the terms of this Declaration on many occasions, eroding the executive, legislative and judicial institutions that are supposed to protect Hongkongers’ civil and political rights and freedoms.
The latest breaches can be observed every day in the context of the recent protests in Hong Kong. While the government has belatedly announced a withdrawal of the controversial extradition bill which sparked the protests, the protests have since evolved into a broader call for autonomy and democracy from the increasing threat of China’s authoritarianism.
This is not least in light of the egregious human rights abuses committed against the Uighurs in Xinjiang and the national surveillance system that Hongkongers view as an existential threat to the freedoms and liberties they are supposedly entitled to enjoy.
Hong Kong’s fundamental freedoms are under attack. Police brutality against protesters and journalists has escalated, shielded by a government that is not accountable to the people.
Aside from the significant presence of a British community in Hong Kong, including both those holding British Citizens and British Nationals (Overseas) passports, Britain has a unique legal, historical and moral responsibility to ensure the Joint Declaration’s implementation. That is why we are calling upon British parliamentarians to impose sanctions on those persons responsible for or complicit in suppressing Hongkongers’ human rights and freedoms. We are also calling upon Britain to include provisions on human rights, civil liberties and democratisation in any post-Brexit agreements with Hong Kong and China. Britain must stand with Hong Kong.
I urge you to write to the Foreign Secretary and press them to take concrete steps in upholding the Joint Declaration and put in place sanctions against those who are involved in undermining freedom in Hong Kong.
Please send a strong message to Her Majesty’s Government that even as the nation undergoes a most challenging time due to Brexit, the UK must also act upon the Hong Kong issue, which is equally crucial and urgent to safeguarding its interests internationally.