• Thu
  • Dec 25, 2014
  • Updated: 9:47am
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DIPLOMACY

Beijing diplomat warns UK consul not to 'meddle' in Hong Kong politics

Foreign ministry's Song Zhe has warned Caroline Wilson against 'meddling'

PUBLISHED : Monday, 02 June, 2014, 5:20am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 03 June, 2014, 2:30am
 

The top British envoy in Hong Kong has hit back at Beijing's warning that London should stay out of Hong Kong's politics, saying Britain has "a wide range of interests" in the city as a signatory to the Sino-British Joint Declaration.

British Consul General Caroline Wilson also stressed the importance of universal suffrage being on the basis of "a genuine choice".

Wilson was responding after China's foreign ministry commissioner in Hong Kong, Song Zhe, issued a statement over the weekend, asking Britain not to poke its nose into Hong Kong's constitutional reforms.

He said the reforms were Hong Kong's internal affair and Beijing was firmly against any meddling by "outside forces".

Song's warning followed a breakfast hosted by Wilson on Friday for five pan-democrats during which she was said to have expressed concerns about electoral reform and governance. She and Song had had afternoon tea the day before.

In response to Song's statement, a spokesman for the British consulate said: "The consul general regularly meets legislators and other stakeholders to discuss a range of issues, including political reform.

"As a signatory to the Sino-British Joint Declaration, the [United Kingdom] has a wide range of interests in and ties with Hong Kong. Frank discussions with stakeholders ensure the [British] government has the best possible understanding of the current situation."

Referring to the meetings with Song and the pan-democrats last week, the spokesman added: "In her discussions, the consul general consistently sets out [Britain's] position on constitutional reform; the detail of the system is for the people of [Hong Kong] and the governments of [Hong Kong and China], but the important thing is that universal suffrage is on the basis of a genuine choice."

Current affairs observer Dr Chung Kim-wah of Polytechnic University said the British reply was surprisingly "direct".

"Usually, consuls general would continue doing what they have been doing quietly despite some so-called warnings from China," Chung said.

He agreed that London, as a signatory of the Joint Declaration, had a responsibility to speak out if it saw something going wrong in Hong Kong.

Veteran China watcher Johnny Lau Yui-siu said: "You may say Beijing is overly sensitive. But it is its policy and it will continue to make criticisms, although I don't think it will have any big impact on the British or US governments' policies."

 

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39

This article is now closed to comments

rsallen
Expressing an opinion is not interfering. China had better realise that if it treats it's own citizens with contempt people who care about freedom of expression and democracy will have a view, no matter what country they come from.
John Adams
The Brits are as hypocritical as the Yanks.
They preach one thing but do the complete opposite when it comes to real democracy in practice
-
The Brits had almost 150 years to introduce some semblance of democracy in HK but they did nothing until the last minute, and then even worse they sent in Chris Patten who single-handedly screwed up the whole "through-train" agreement which dated back to the Joint Declaration ( I lived through it all in HK)
-
Go back to your ridiculously totally over-priced luxurious flat Ms Wilson.
Keep your nose out of HK - China internal affairs
And sort out the almighty UK passport mess your government has created !
A Hong Konger
It's bitterly ironic that an official from the PRC would say, with a straight face, that open comments by a consul general are somehow "meddling or interfering", when that was all China EVER did in Hong Kong from the very beginning all the way to this day. HK's success is IN SPITE of Chinese interference in our way of life. We would be, in every sense imaginable, a more industrious, confident, safer, equal, democratic, enlightened and successful nation of people (not nation-state, but that depends on China) without China's interference.
ennoun
Unlike China's embassies and consulates across the world where there are absolutely no spying activities taking place. Yep, it's always the anti UK and anti US commentators on SCMP who seem to know it all. Good feeling to get their assurance that China is so clean.
ejmciii
What rock did you crawl from under, depraved Mainland worm?
mymak
All the time, the fear and insecurity from the CCP. Consulates and embassies have always met with political leaders throughout the world since time immemorial. The CCP should stop looking under the bed and just get on with ruling the country.
ejmciii
Yes better to be schooled in democratic matters by the Chinese communists. What a laugh. John Adams, or is it Wang, sorry that your employers don't like hearing others saying to we HK people that we have a right to take part in our own governance. We are not princelings but we have the right. So go back to your overpriced flat in Beijing and lick some boots.
ejmciii
Maybe she got her job based on merit rather than because her daddy was a powerful member of the communist party. Like that general who is Mao's grandson. You all are pathetic.
I Gandhi
Absolutely right. Why do you think they had the "troubles" in North Ireland? Why do you think that Ireland got her independence?
A Hong Konger
John Adams: You are a liar. You know full well, unless you're completely ignorant of history, that it was China that derailed the through train and appointed the provisional legislature without the consent of the HK people. As for democratic reform before the 80s, major democratic reform was prevented by successive Chinese governments threats to the UK and would have made little sense in a territory where most people living here were born in China's before the 70s. But in this regards you're right, we should have had a fully democratic government under the British, like Bermuda. I would have liked to see China try anything then when the HK people were firmly in control of their own destiny, most likely we would be independent today.

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