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Brit MPs denied entry to Hong Kong; parliament to hold an emergency debate


London (Dec. 02, 2014):  The head of a British parliamentary committee was refused entry to Hong Kong on Monday. Richard Ottaway stated that MPs had "every right" to visit.

Richard Ottaway, chairman of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, spoke after China refused to grant visas to members of the committee to visit Hong Kong, where violence re-erupted overnight with clashes between pro-democracy protesters and police.

The British parliament will now hold an emergency debate on the incident on Tuesday, further marring efforts to reset relations between Britain and China which were soured when Prime Minister David Cameron met the Dalai Lama at Downing Street in 2012.

Ottaway, a senior member of Cameron's Conservative party, was told on Friday by China's deputy ambassador that eight lawmakers from his committee would not receive visas for a planned trip in a couple of weeks.

Under the Joint Declaration signed in 1984 which set out the terms of Britain's 1997 handover of Hong Kong, the city is governed under the principle of "one country, two systems".

This means that Hong Kong has a string of political, social and economic freedoms not enjoyed on the Chinese mainland.

Ottaway believes that China was "concerned that we might be seen to be supporting the protesters" in Hong Kong but denied having any contact with them.