Sat, Mar 07, 2015 - Page 1 News List

UK lawmakers say China eroding Hong Kong’s freedoms

‘TROUBLING PATTERN’:The British Foreign Affairs Committee said in a report that China’s new election process for the territory was ‘unduly restrictive’

Reuters, LONDON

British lawmakers banned from entering Hong Kong last year said Chinese regulations were eroding freedoms in the former British colony and urged the UK government to take a harder stance against Beijing.

Pro-democracy protests shut down parts of Hong Kong for two-and-a-half months last year in response to a decision by China to pre-screen candidates in a 2017 election that will choose the territory’s next chief executive.

A report released yesterday by the British parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee said China’s new nomination process was “unduly restrictive.”

The report highlighted what it called a “troubling pattern” of limitations being imposed on the autonomy and freedoms negotiated for Hong Kong 30 years ago when Britain and China agreed on a deal to hand it back to Beijing.

“We are concerned that this high degree of autonomy is coming under pressure, and the FCO [British foreign office] needs to take a clear stand,” committee chairman Richard Ottaway said.

China lambasted the report, which the official Xinhua news agency called “absurd” and “regrettable.”

“Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China’s, and Hong Kong’s affairs are purely an internal matter for China,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying (華春瑩) told a daily news briefing. “Britain has no right to interfere and has absolutely no so-called ‘responsibility’ for Hong Kong.”

The Hong Kong government said it was committed to implementing universal suffrage in accordance with local laws and a decision last summer by China’s parliament.

It also said that freedom of expression and of the press are legally guaranteed in Hong Kong and that it “will not interfere with the internal operations of media organizations.”

In November last year, the British lawmakers found themselves at the center of a diplomatic spat after they were banned from entering Hong Kong to research their report, which is focused on Britain’s relations with its former colony.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top