Following the disqualification of four Hong Kong legislators this cross-party letter has been sent today to the Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab MP.
Dear Foreign Secretary,
We are writing to express our very grave concern at the latest development in Hong Kong, the disqualification of four pro-democracy legislators, following the decision by the Standing Committee of the National Peoples Congress in Beijing to remove any member of Hong Kong’s Legislative Council who is deemed to be in breach of the new national security law. This has led to the resignation of all pro-democracy legislators, leaving the Legislative Council entirely in the hands of pro-Beijing forces without any democratic opposition.
The four legislators who have today been disqualified and removed from their seats in the Legislative Council represent the most moderate and mainstream wing of the pro-democracy movement. Alvin Yeung, Kwok Ka-ki, Dennis Kwok and Kenneth Leung come from the Civic Party and represent professional constituencies such as the legal and accountancy sectors. Far from being radical pro-independence activists, they have proven themselves to be extremely moderate, reasonable voices working within the established system. Their disqualification directly undermines due process and the rule of law in Hong Kong, further erodes Hong Kong’s autonomy and the “one country, two systems” principle and dismantles any remaining vestiges of democracy in Hong Kong. It further calls into question the prospects for judicial independence.
Moreover, the decision by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress has been imposed in an arbitrary way that completely violates Hong Kong’s Basic Law and represents yet another very grave violation of the Sino-British Joint Declaration.
This latest move to dismantle democratic representation in Hong Kong comes a week after the publication of the Chinese government’s 14th Five Year-Plan which proposes “confidential jurisdiction” over Hong Kong. This specifically threatens Hong Kong’s legal system, emphasizing the need to “implement the central government’s comprehensive jurisdiction over the two [cities], as well as their legal systems and enforcement mechanisms.”
We call on you to respond urgently to these developments.
The United Kingdom’s response to the imposition of the national security law on Hong Kong in July was very welcome, particularly with the generous and bold offer of a pathway to citizenship for British National Overseas (BNO) status holders. In response to these more recent events, we urge you to seriously consider working with like-minded countries to establish an international contact group to coordinate a global response to the unfolding crisis in Hong Kong, to work within the United Nations to seek the establishment of a new mechanism to monitor and report on human rights in Hong Kong, and to impose targeted sanctions on officials in the Chinese and Hong Kong governments responsible for such flagrant breaches of international agreements.
The need for a robust and urgent response to today’s announcements is clear, and we look forward to your leadership in this regard.
Alistair Carmichael MP, , Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Hong Kong and Patron of Hong Kong Watch
Fiona Bruce MP, Chair of the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission and Patron of Hong Kong Watch
Lord Alton of Liverpool, Independent Cross-bench Peer and Patron of Hong Kong Watch
The Rt Hon Sir Malcolm Rifkind, former Foreign Secretary and Patron of Hong Kong Watch
Layla Moran MP, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs
The Rt Hon Damian Green MP, Former First Secretary of State
The Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP, Chair of the Brexit Select Committee and former Secretary of State for International Development
Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle, former Leader of the Green Party and Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Hong Kong
The Rt Hon Iain Duncan Smith MP, former Leader of the Conservative Party and Co-Chair of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC)
The Rt Hon Lord Owen of Plymouth, former Foreign Secretary