Fiona Bruce MP Raises Concerns Over Hong Kong Democracy Activist Arrests with FCO

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Fiona Bruce MP, Chair of the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission, has submitted a number of written question to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) regarding the recent arrest of pro democracy activists and the infringements of the freedoms in Hong Kong. The questions and answers are listed below:

Fiona asked:

“To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of whether the arrest of fifteen prominent democracy activists and former lawmakers in Hong Kong on 18 April 2020 is a breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration.”

Nigel Adams MP, on behalf of the FCO, responded:

“We are concerned about the arrests of a number of political figures in Hong Kong, and are following these cases closely. We expect any arrests and judicial processes to be conducted in a fair and transparent manner. The right to peaceful protest is fundamental to Hong Kong’s way of life and as such is protected in both the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law. It is essential that any protests are conducted peacefully, and that the authorities avoid actions that inflame tensions. The authorities should focus on rebuilding trust through a process of meaningful political dialogue.

We continue to follow the situation in Hong Kong closely and we provide a full assessment of the implementation of the Joint Declaration in the six-monthly reports to Parliament. The UK remains committed to upholding the rights and freedoms underpinned by the Joint Declaration, the Basic Law and enshrined in Hong Kong’s Bill of Rights, and we expect the Chinese authorities to respect and preserve Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy. We have made this position clear to the Hong Kong and Chinese authorities and will continue to do so, publicly and privately.”

Fiona asked:

“To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect on the rule of law in Hong Kong of the recent arrest of fifteen democracy activists and former lawmakers.”

Nigel Adams MP, on behalf of the FCO, responded:

“We are concerned about the arrests of a number of political figures in Hong Kong, and are following these cases closely. The rule of law and independence of the judiciary are one of the foundations on which Hong Kong’s success and prosperity is built. It is crucial that Hong Kong’s courts are able to exercise their power independently and free from interference. We therefore expect any arrests and judicial processes to be conducted in a fair and transparent manner.”

Fiona asked:

“To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps the UK is taking as co-signatory to the Sino-British Joint Declaration to defend the freedom to protest in Hong Kong.”

Nigel Adams MP, on behalf of the FCO, responded:

“The right to peaceful protest is fundamental to Hong Kong’s way of life and as such is protected in both the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law. The UK remains committed to upholding the rights and freedoms underpinned by the Joint Declaration, the Basic Law and enshrined in Hong Kong’s Bill of Rights, and we expect the Chinese authorities to respect and preserve Hong Kong’s rights and freedoms and high degree of autonomy. We regularly make this position clear to the Hong Kong and Chinese Governments, and will continue to do so, both publicly and privately.”

Fiona asked:

“To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is bound by Article 22 of Hong Kong Basic Law which ensures that Chinese Government departments cannot interfere in the affairs of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.”

Nigel Adams MP, on behalf of the FCO, responded:

“Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy is guaranteed under the Sino-British Joint Declaration to which the UK is a party. We expect the Chinese authorities to respect and preserve this high degree of autonomy.”


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