The UK Government published its latest Six-Monthly Report to Parliament on the implementation of the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration on the Question of Hong Kong, covering developments from 1 July to 31 December 2018
The report covers a broad range of political and economic developments and an overview of UK-Hong Kong bilateral activity over the reporting period.
Writing in his foreword the Foreign Secretary, The Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP says Since 1997, the successful implementation of ‘One Country, Two Systems’ has been central to Hong Kong’s prosperity. It is very welcome that in the areas of business and the independence of the judiciary, the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ model is working well. However, I am concerned that on civil and political freedoms, Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy is being reduced. These concerns are driven by recent events, such as the banning of the Hong Kong National Party, political screening of election candidates, and the seemingly politically motivated expulsion of the Financial Times Asia News Editor.
The Foreign Secretary writes that he has been concerned by the recent pressure being applied on Hong Kong to move towards a mainland Chinese interpretation of civil and political freedoms, under which certain subjects are effectively off-limits for discussion and debate. And while the UK Government does not support independence for Hong Kong, I am clear that freedom of speech, including on constitutional matters, is one of the rights guaranteed under the Joint Declaration.
The Foreign Secretary makes clear that If Hong Kong is to continue to attract international businesses and be an attractive place to live and work, then its high degree of autonomy, and the way of life that has made it unique and successful, must be maintained.
The Foreign Secretary concludes by writing, ‘One Country, Two Systems’ has served Hong Kong and China extremely well in the past and can continue to do so in future…Upholding the rights and freedoms set down in the Joint Declaration is an enduring commitment, and it continues to be the best way to guarantee Hong Kong’s future stability and prosperity and to continue the benefits that Hong Kong brings to the rest of China and to the wider world.
Read the report in full: Six-monthly report on Hong Kong: July to December 2018
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