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  • Aug 30, 2014
  • Updated: 11:54pm
NewsHong Kong
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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This article is now closed to comments

fmhung
The British Consul was not meddling, just concerned, as she and all countries should be, about the fate of HK.
Max Diethelm
Hongkongers should tell the nosy British consul general Caroline Wilson to get lost since they are not interested in buying British opium any more.
chuchu59
As a matter of principle Beijing is right in telling other countries not to 'meddle' in HK affairs. However, it does seem they are using the term 'meddle' rather loosely. Where any opinion made, however well-intentioned, is taken as 'meddling' no one can say anything on HK in future. Beijing should really use the word 'meddling' when truly warranted and not use it on every occasion where foreign countries especially the US or UK provides an opinion. Otherwise, it will just become a mundane exercise.
icwu
War of words is NOT working in China's favour. However, ACTION is louder than words. China should consider, at this opportune time, to grant Hong Kong a more liberal interpretation of 'universal sufferage' under the Basic Law. Hong Kong's cultural and basic core values include freedom of choice, freedom of speech and democracy. By respecting and upholding Hong Kong's basic cultural and core values, China would show to the world and to its own that China is a champion for LOCAL CULTURAL AND BASIC CORE VALUES SO LONG AS THEY ARE WITHIN THE CIVILIZED FRAME WORK OF RULE OF LAW AND RESPECT FOR LAW. Hong Kong is such a place. China should take this opportunity for Hong Kong as an example.
jflooking03
Hmmmm...I read this somewhere else too "The Brits had almost 150 years to introduce some resemblance of democracy in HK but they did nothing until the last minute,...". Why don't the HK people for once do something for themselves instead of whining about both the British and the mainland?
Formerly ******
@jflooking03:
The HK people didn't do anything for 150, because British rule was benign and kind and made HK one of the most prosperous political entities in the world. Under British rule, HK had freedom of speech, press, religion, etc.
So, the bottom line answer is quite obvious, the Hong Kong people trust the Brits, but not the CCP.
@jflooking03:
香港人什麼也沒做為 150,因為英國的規則是良性和親切,在世界最繁榮的政治實體之一取得港幣在英國統治下港幣了自由的言論、 新聞、 宗教等。
所以,底線答案是很明顯,香港人相信英國人,但沒有中國共產黨。
How About
Have you ready the July-1 OC logistic? Where do I sign up? Must I sit on the Des Voeux Road tarmac all day or can I refresh myself in the pre-booked Mandarin Oriental deluxe seaview rooms every few hours? I can get some nap and sleep at night right? Who's organizing the chow?
kctony
Are you friends with Regina and Rita? Say hello to them at The Mandarin. Oh, don't bump into Regina. It's not election time, you know.
allan94
wtf is your point? whatever it is u r smoking, pls give us some!
jflooking03
Daniel Lee, I'm guessing your mother still wipes your bum, right? That would be the only excuse for your comment.

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