London, November 12
Britain on Thursday said China had broken its main bilateral treaty on Hong Kong by imposing new rules to disqualify elected legislators in the former British colony, cautioning that it would consider sanctions as part of its response.
The British flag was lowered over Hong Kong when the colony was handed back to China in 1997 after more than 150 years of British rule — imposed after Britain defeated China in the First Opium War.
Hong Kong’s autonomy was guaranteed under the ‘one country, two systems’ agreement enshrined in the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration signed by then Chinese Premier Zhao Ziyang and British PM Margaret Thatcher.
“Beijing’s imposition of new rules to disqualify elected legislators in Hong Kong constitutes a clear breach of the legally binding Sino-British Joint Declaration. China has once again broken its promises and undermined Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy,” Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said.
UK summoned China ambassador to express its deep concerns and Raab’s deputy, Nigel Adams, told parliament that it was considering possible sanctions on individuals over China’s actions. He didn’t name Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam.
Meanwhile, Canada said it would make rules easy for Hong Kongers to study and work in response to new Chinese security rules. — Reuters
HK democracy bloc submits resignation
Hong Kong: Hong Kong’s pro-democracy lawmakers on Thursday submitted their resignation letters to the Legislative Council a day after the government ousted four of its members, inviting criticism from across the world. It wasn’t immediately known if their resignation had been accepted. Agencies
US condemns lawmakers’ ouster
Washington: The US has strongly condemned Beijing’s move to disqualify four Hong Kong pro-democracy legislators. China has violated its international commitments, said the US National Security Advisor Robert C O’Brien on Wednesday. PTI
It’s severe blow to freedom: EU
Brussels: The European Union called on Beijing to reverse new rules to disqualify elected legislators, saying the decision was a “severe blow” to former UK colony’s autonomy. “This further undermines Hong Kong’s autonomy,” the EU’s 27 governments said. Reuters