• Thu
  • Jul 24, 2014
  • Updated: 9:25pm
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DIPLOMACY

‘Irresponsible’ British PM Cameron slammed for not standing up for Hong Kong

Statement issued by UK and China makes no mention of Beijing's white paper, despite fears it threatens 1984 Joint Declaration and Basic Law

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 18 June, 2014, 2:36pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 19 June, 2014, 9:27am
 

British Prime Minister David Cameron has come under fire for skirting the heated debate over Hong Kong’s autonomy by prioritising Britain’s economic ties with China during Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to London this week.

A joint statement released by both governments on Tuesday mentioned Hong Kong only briefly, making no reference to a controversial Chinese government policy paper from last week that detailed Beijing’s understanding of the “one country, two systems” principle laid down in the Basic Law, the city’s constitutional document.

The statement’s only reference to Hong Kong read: “Both sides agreed it is both in China and the UK’s interests to promote the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong in accordance with the ‘one country, two systems’ principle and the Basic Law.”

The white paper released last week emphasised Beijing’s “comprehensive jurisdiction” over Hong Kong and said the city’s autonomy was subject to the central government’s authority.

That sparked concerns that the high degree of autonomy, guaranteed to Hong Kong in the Sino-British Joint Declaration of 1984 and the Basic Law, was at risk.

Democratic heavyweight Martin Lee Chu-ming, who helped draft the Basic Law, described Cameron as “very irresponsible” for not speaking up for Hongkongers or the Joint Declaration.

“The central government has redefined the country’s policies towards Hong Kong [in the white paper], which are different from what were stated in the Joint Declaration and Basic Law,” Lee said.

“Before, [Beijing] stated that the central government was only responsible for Hong Kong’s military and diplomatic affairs … but now they say they enjoy 'comprehensive jurisdiction' [over Hong Kong].”

Lee urged the UK to continue its role maintaining the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law, and not to give up that right in exchange for business with China.

“There were only two countries signing the Joint Declaration – China and UK,” he said, referring to the documents which set out the terms of Hong Kong’s return to Chinese sovereignty on July 1, 1997.

”It is unacceptable for the UK not to speak up for Hongkongers,” Lee lamented. “This is very irresponsible and has disappointed the people in Hong Kong”.

While the statement made no mention of the white paper that the State Council released last week, it is unclear whether Cameron has raised the issue in his conversations with Premier Li so far.

For Steve Tsang, director of the China Policy Institute at Nottingham University, the wording reflects British sensitivity towards Chinese concerns over the former colonial power’s influence in the SAR.

“London is aware that Beijing sees a conspiracy behind any overt British ’interference’ in any aspect of development in Hong Kong, particularly if it is something disapproved of by Beijing,” he wrote in an email.

“This limits what the British government can say and do.”

The joint statement was released on the second day of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to the UK. In a visit focused on business cooperation, deals worth more than HK$230 billion have been signed according to the Chinese embassy in London.

And economic cooperation loomed large in Tuesday’s statement.

The reference to the former colony appeared below remarks on economic cooperation in nuclear and wind energy, railways and the issuing of yuan-dominated bonds in London.

Mandarin classes at British schools, the “the translation of each other’s contemporary litreary classics” as well as judicial cooperation and cultural exchange were also mentioned ahead of the one-time British colony handed back to Chinese rule 17 years ago.

The paragraph that referred to Hong Kong also reiterated Britain’s recognition of Chinese sovereignty over Tibet.

The white paper issued last week also argued that “it is necessary […] to repel the attempt made by a very small number of people who act in collusion with outside forces to interfere with the implementation of ‘one country, two systems’ in Hong Kong.”

A week earlier, Beijing’s top representative in Hong Kong, Song Zhe, called on the British Consul General to Hong Kong, Caroline Wilson, not to interfere in Hong Kong affairs.

Wilson had expressed concerns over electoral reform in a meeting with pan-democrat lawmakers.

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pslhk
With Y = your, M = my
R = human rights and L = life or livelihood
> = more important and < = less important
the following expressions should help clarify their relations
for the differentiation of rational responsibility from absurd fantasy
-
ML > YR
hence silence of western “democracies”
against alleged human rights abuses in rich developing countries
-
YR > YL
Western “value” for application to poor non-western countries
-
MR > YL
Economic sanctions against “authoritarian” states
Axiomatic individualism of the west
-
One may carry on deriving the relations
If human rights are human
MR should be equal to YR
But given the fact of ML > YR
L > R
stephen.morris.1460
Comments criticising the UK, I'm assuming are un-educated morons or the paid CCP Propaganda squad on patrol or a combination of both.
zhelu1985@live.com
Let this be a lesson to the colonial flag waving, uneducated degenerates:
THE BRITS DON'T CARE ABOUT YOU.
They don't even care enough to mention you, nevermind "taking you back".
jayb
there are bigger fish to fry, bigger deals to cut for the brits. you can't blame the guy.
537c3ddd-2fd0-423d-9c6e-35000a320969
Hong Kong is doing fine under China, we don't need no help from foreign nations, especially from a hypocrite nation like Britain. Thank you Cameroon for not meddling with China/HK's politics as Hong Kong is none of your business.
5359337f-85d8-4858-a065-34fa0a320969
I was born and educated in top-tier academic institutes both in HK and North America, spending over 10+ years overseas. I have worked in global Big-4 consultancy firm and prominent I-banks, and I can tell you most people I know at work (HKers) and my friends and my family all feel so much better after the Brits left and that HK is back to mother China. Hong Kong people had no dignity under the British rule as the Brits had always treated the Hongkongers like second class citizens, subordinated to them.
The colonial government then had skimmed away tons of hard-earned money from the HKers and redistributing majority of the wealth back to the Brits via awarding big-scale public and private projects to British contractors alike. Note that HKers had no say whatsoever on government spending back then, as the Brits controls the government and any public consultation from the general public, if any, was rigged.
Now you know, whoever wrote anything contrary to the above are not genuine HKers and probably represents MI6 using a fake Asian name to distort the truth from the reading audience.
ssslmcs01
You are a die hard commie or a confused individual.
The Hong Kong I know before and after 1997 provides, world class education to our young people, world class healthcare to ALL citizens amongst many other benefits that cost a lot of money. I don't believe there was skimming away of tons of our tax dollars back to the Brits. Our tax scheme has always been low and the benefits to the citizenry the envy of the world.
Get a life ******, your moniker should be 0.
538496b2-c7c4-45a6-b7ab-35100a320969
SSSLMCS, do you even know what gibberish you are throwing up here? If you are not a HK person, I suggest you shut your hole. Your naïve understanding in politics is shameful. Why did you think UK have to build the CLK airport and other mega infrastructure projects in HK right before the Handover? Are you aware majority of those mega projects were awarded to British firms at high cost without much debate? You think Hongkong Land's large presence in Central prior to 97 is really because they are a much better developer?
You are so brain-washed by western democracy, I suggest you go fight the war in Iraq.
jayb
i am sorry man... you don't make no sense..
1. you can't be born "both in hk and n.america". last time i check, this is no Monkey King business.
2. so "genuine hkers" should be one mind, one ideology, uni-think? this is robotic not "genuine hkers".
3. colonial govt. spending? you don't know hk had the lowest govt. spending per GDP $? wealth skimmed off? and you said you "worked in global "consultancy and "prominent I banks"? no wonder our global financial system is in such a mess!
4. MI6? you mean MI6 put ppl on payroll to write little notes on SCMP user response? c'mon MAN!! this is a HMS govt. which can't even afford to expedite passport processing for her nationals and you're talkin' about MI6 making up fake names to do posting on SCMP? please, por favor?
you said you went to "top-tier academic institutes"? LOL
req
Just the usual whining of people who only care about what they want, like immature children. David Camerons accomplishments are much greater so I don't know why martin thinks he's in a position to comment. If he doesnt like it he should ph e kk off to the uk.

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