VR62 – Ministerial Report from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on Hong Kong

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Poll: Do you agree with the contents of this Ministerial Report?
As many as are of the opinion, aye. (19)
38%
Of the Contrary, no. (22)
44%
Abstain. (9)
18%
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Andrew97
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R62 – Ministerial Report from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on Hong Kong, TSR Government




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Her Majesty's government strongly condemns the People's Republic of China for their serious breaches of the Sino-British Joint Declaration lodged at the United Nations with its recent passing of the Hong Kong national security ordinance, bypassing the Hong Kong legislature, the proposed installation of an agency in Hong Kong to enforce the ordinance directly, as well as a number of other breaches in recent years. In this ministerial report, we have listed the breaches and the changes and sanctions we are going to make and impose in response to the situation.




The Sino-British Joint Declaration1 was signed between our United Kingdom and the People's Republic of China, and registered at the United Nations on 12 June 1985, effective immediate from that date, with an additional validity of 50 years from 1 July 1997, the day of the handover of sovereignty of Hong Kong.

We list the following as breaches:

1. Legislating without involvement from the Hong Kong legislature2 strips away Hong Kong's "high degree of autonomy" as stated in 3(2).

2. Chief Executive Carrie Lam has also declared that there could be no "autonomy" for Hong Kong3, providing further evidence that the Joint Declaration has been disregarded.

3. 3(2) states that Hong Kong is "will be directly under the authority of the Central People's Government", which is no longer the case, with the earlier incidents of the Hong Kong Liaison Office interfering4 in the election of the Chair of the Home Commitment in the Legislative Council.

4. A security agency installed by China in Hong Kong5 will constitute a further breach.

5 3(3) states that Hong Kong has "independent judicial power, including that of final adjudication", which will no longer be the case China is to directly enforce the national security ordinance through its agency5.

6 According to both the Chinese and Hong Kong governments, this is also changing the "legal system"6, which may constitute a breach of Annex I, II and is a violation of Annex I, III.

7 3(5) states that Hong Kong has "Rights and freedoms, including those...of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association...of strike...of academic research...". The national security ordinance will threaten all the freedoms here, but there have been other instances of infringements, such as the teachers to be de-registered7 due to "improper speech" on private Facebook pages; of assembly, the continued suppression of peaceful gatherings8, even with a police-issued permit; of the press, revoking a Financial Times journalist's visa for political reasons9, the proposed expelling of US journalists in Hong Kong as decreed by China10, the suspension of a TV programme for "humiliating" the police11; of association, the banning of the Hong Kong National Party12; of strike, the government's promise to crack down on medical professionals who participated in a legal, union-approved strike13; of academic research, the unprecedented cancellation of a public exam question14, the proposed monitoring of teachers using teachers from China15, infringing academic freedom at universities in Hong Kong, even to a foreign branch16, even to interfere in the hiring of a pro-vice-chancellor17.

8 3(9) states that Hong Kong may establish mutually beneficial economic relations with the United Kingdom, whose economic interests in Hong Kong would be given due regard. The UK's economic interests in Hong Kong have not been given due regard with the initial insistence to move forward with the extradition bill last year18, and the proposed national security ordinance19, the latter triggering the largest collapse in the Hong Kong stock exchange in years20.

9 Annex I, II states that the laws of the Hong Kong shall be the Basic Law, and the laws previously in force in Hong Kong and laws enacted by the Hong Kong’s legislature as above. By enacting legislation without the Hong Kong legislature, China has breached the declaration2.

10 Annex I, III states that "The [Hong Kong] courts shall exercise judicial power independently and free from any interference", yet when the Hong Kong High Court ruled that the anti-face covering decree was unconstitutional, China suggested that Hong Kong's courts have no rights to make a ruling21.

11 The new national security ordinance will exclude foreign judges from participating22, despite the Basic Law and the Joint Declaration both guaranteeing the right of an independent judiciary and the continued sitting of foreign judges.




Based on the above, Her Majesty's government shall make the following adjustments and sanctions.

As Hong Kong no longer has a sufficient level of autonomy, as also evaluated by the US Secretary of State to his congress earlier23, effective from 1 January 2021, Hong Kong will be considered an ordinary part of China, with no independent or special, privileged status on all matters, including:

1 Visa-free arrangement for holders of the Hong Kong passport will be revoked. The visa policy for holders of the passport will be in line with holders of the ordinary passport from the China.

2 Trade restrictions, regulations, as well as tariffs on imports from and exports to Hong Kong, including on items labelled "Made in Hong Kong", shall be completely in line with those for China.

3 The separate pages on Hong Kong on government websites will be merged with China’s.

4 Holders of the Hong Kong passport will no longer be able to utilize our electronic facilities to enter the UK. We will work on providing that feature to holders of the British nationals overseas passport.

5 Any restrictions placed on information access for citizens of China, will apply to holders of the Hong Kong passport.

6 The option to pick "Hong Kong" and its variant as a "country" or a "nationality" will be removed from all government websites and be replaced with "China" or its variant. British passport holders born in British Hong Kong will continue to have "Hong Kong" printed as their place of birth.

7 The Consulate-General in Hong Kong will be directly under the embassy in Beijing. It shall be renamed the Consulate of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The Consul shall no longer be accorded the rank and privileges of an ambassador.

8 All future trade, cultural, and other negotiations will not be conducted with the government of Hong Kong, but the government of China. Current treaties and agreements with Hong Kong will be sent to the government of China for ratification, upon review.

9 UK will withdraw from the extradition treaty signed with Hong Kong, and The Hong Kong (Extradition) Order 1997 will be repealed.

10 Holders of the Hong Kong passport will be grouped with other Chinese citizens for official reporting and recording purposes on all government records.

11 UK will no longer consider membership in international organizations for Hong Kong to be legitimate, including its membership in Bank for International Settlements, International Chamber of Commerce, International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, International Maritime Organization, International Monetary Fund, International Olympic Committee, International Organization for Standardization, Interpol, Universal Postal Union, World Customs Organization, World Meteorological Organization, World Tourism Organization, World Trade Organization.

12 All government reports and records on China will include statistics from Hong Kong.

13 Correspondences from the Consulate in Hong Kong will be written in simplified Chinese and spoken in Putonghua Chinese. The Consulate may wish to use English as it sees fit.

14 The Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in London will be stripped off all its diplomatic rights, and be required to re-register as an organization in the United Kingdom or be merged with the Embassy of China in London. Diplomatic privileges will no longer be provided to the Chief Executive of Hong Kong in the UK.




Her Majesty's government will also impose sanctions on the People's Republic of China, including Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, for the breaches of the Joint Declaration.

The power of those sanctions come from the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 201824, and we invoke the following clauses for the sanctions:

(a)for the purposes of compliance with a UN obligation

(b)for the purposes of compliance with any other international obligation

As the Joint Declaration was breached as demonstrated above.

(i)promote respect for democracy, the rule of law and good governance

The governments concerned have declined to provide universal suffrage, ie democracy, to Hong Kong despite it being a constitutional commitment in the Basic Law.

The rule of law has not been respected with arbitrary arrests, including children and schoolgirls buying school supplies, as well as selective prosecution, including the non-prosecution of a police officer who drove his vehicle into a crowd, a taxi driver who drove his vehicle into a crowd, the decision to go for a lesser charge for a convicted criminal. The refusal to show police IDs and numbers also violated local laws.

Good governance has not been done with the refusal to withdraw the controversial extradition bills despite million-strong marches, directly leading to instability in the region.




Within the Act, financial, immigration, and trade-related sanctions shall be imposed after consultation and coordination with our allies in the European Union, the United States, and the Commonwealth.

Notes:
Spoiler:
Show




TL;DR -

Why should we do this? In order to prevent similar or worse behaviour from China or other countries, as well as going into situations that will affect other countries, from Taiwan to Ethiopia, as well as another global crisis resulting from the lack of freedom in China. That's the sanction bit.

Treating Hong Kong as any ordinary Chinese city is just to reflect the reality.




China's encroachment on Hong Kong is not new, and it started from the very first day of the handover. In 1997, the democratically elected legislature was abolished, in favour of the Beijing-appointed one; in 1999, the democratically elected Urban Council was abolished; in 2003, Hong Kong attempted to introduce a national security ordinance; in 2012, patriotic education; in 2014, universal suffrage was denied; following the protests that year, Hong Kong disqualified democratically elected legislators after intervention from Beijing, as well as the disqualifying of candidates for political reasons; the jailing of political opponents, including Joshua Wong; the appointment of an illegitimate temporary chair for the House Committee of the legislature following Chinese interference; the passing of the second reading of the Chinese-imposed national anthem ordinance after expelling all opposition lawmakers.

Nevertheless, these events have largely been tolerated, without much danger to the international community. The extradition bill and the current national security ordinance are different. Hong Kong declined to shelve the bill last year despite condemnations internationally, from the UK as well as other countries. These, on top of the police tear gassing peaceful protesters during approved demonstrations and shooting unarmed, peaceful protesters, directly led to the escalation of events, as no other method was perceived to be working. As the coronavirus calmed the city down, fresh protests erupted as China declared its intention to make law, abandoning even the pretence of autonomy for Hong Kong. The move severely threatens not only the safety of British nationals, but also the international business community. Businesses in Hong Kong trust the unique, independent systems in Hong Kong that are not found in China. They had expected those systems to be in place for at least 50 years, which has been shown to be a false promise.

The international community has condemned China many times, and UK has even declared the Joint Declaration to have been breached officially. These have clearly failed and thus now is the time for stronger actions, as China refuses to even pretend to be diplomatic about it. In real-life, UK's actions have so far amounted to a joint statement, as well as a proposal to give British nationals overseas more visa rights. US, on the other hand, has acted with much more resolve. Its Secretary of State has formally advised its congress that Hong Kong is no longer an autonomous territory and that the special treatment within US law will be revoked. Its president has declared that "one country, two systems" is now only "one system", and students and scholars linked to the Chinese military are to be denied entry. Trade talks have been suspended and more sanctions are to follow, with several pieces of legislation passed last year.

In the ideal world, of course it would be the hope that these will bring China to the negotiation table, in order to guarantee Hong Kong's short-term autonomy, for the benefit of not just the west, but very much Hong Kong and China itself. Nonetheless, by now it should be clear that these will still probably be too little, too late. There are, however, a number of other reasons why we should respond to this, rather than continuing with the policy of appeasement:

Firstly, China's suppression of freedom in fact is not limited to the territories it holds or claims, but to the entire world. Last year alone, we saw US organizations such as the NBA, Apple, Google, Tiffany being punished or censored by China because certain individuals support Hong Kong. In the UK, we also have the Chinese ambassador attacking politicians in the UK for expressing their opinions. In Sweden, China successfully pressured a TV channel to fire an anchor; and in Australia, Queensland University has suspended a student for challenging its Chinese ties. An unconstrained China may mean the end of freedom globally.

Secondly, China's ambitions are not limited to Hong Kong. Taiwan is a clear next step for China, as China has threatened military action. Diplomatically, they have been isolated, so much so a WHO's senior staff hung up upon hearing Taiwan. Unfortunately, China's territorial claims go even beyond that. In the South China Sea, China has claimed territories not only claimed, but by international law reasonably belong to Vietnam, The Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei. China has been militarizing the region despite international condemnations. Over the land border, we see frequent stand-offs and small-scale fights between India and China, including right this moment. China has also been openly supporting the armed groups in Myanmar to build the "Wa State". With its loans, it has built neo-colonies in numerous parts of the world, including Djibouti. There have also been attempts to build them in countries like Tanzania.

Thirdly, a strong international response will likely restrain China domestically. China has been attempting ethnic cleansing to non-Han Chinese, such as the Muslims in East Turkistan, but life has also not been good for the Han Chinese. A father, for example, was jailed for national security simply because he was trying to raise awareness to contaminated milk powder. Nobel laureate Lau was imprisoned until his death for simply calling for freedom and democracy, and China sanctioned Norway for allowing the award to be given. This is without mentioning the foreign residents who live in China, such as the Canadian-Hungarian diplomat who has been detained, the Swedish bookseller (kidnapped by China in Thailand), and many others. Last year, they even detained an officer of the British Consulate-General without notifying anyone until it became international news. The western sanctions following the Tiananmen Massacre may be seen as a reason why we have not seen a repeat.

Besides, the lack of freedom can be said to be a reason for the pandemic. We know that at least one doctor alerted others, but instead of containing the virus, the doctor was arrested. We also know that China has not been honest and tried to hide the outbreak until at least mid-January, not notifying the WHO of human-to-human transmissions, and indeed any new cases.

Not to mention is the fact that it is an objective fact that China has violated an agreement with the UK, in many ways, for many years. If the UK is to do nothing or very little, it will encourage China and other countries to breach their agreements with the UK.

Last but not least, it is a reflection of reality that we can no longer consider Hong Kong an autonomous region. By continuing, we are putting businesses, cultural associations, and tourists at risk. We should be telling them the reality and that the same amount of risks to business and visitors as in other Chinese cities exist in Hong Kong.




1 [/b]

2 https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...kdown-protests

3 https://www.scmp.com/comment/letters...-rule-confirms

4 https://hongkongfp.com/2020/04/14/ho...-interference/

5 https://www.reuters.com/article/us-c...-idUSKBN22Y04K

6 https://news.cgtn.com/news/2020-05-2...3cb9f040c.jpeg

7 https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/...rotest-related

8 https://www.wsj.com/articles/hong-ko...ts-11579441327

9 https://www.ft.com/content/5240ecda-...f-ee390057b8c9

10 https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/17/b...urnalists.html

11 https://news.rthk.hk/rthk/en/compone...0-20200519.htm

12 https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/24/w...andy-chan.html

13 https://hongkongfp.com/2020/02/27/co...order-closure/

14 http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/202..._139081783.htm
https://www.economist.com/china/2020...t-in-hong-kong

15 https://www.rfa.org/english/news/chi...020111215.html

16 https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/...ademic-freedom

17 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Univer...on_controversy

18 https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-ho...-idUKKCN1SU0OO

19 https://www.canada.ca/en/global-affa...gislation.html

20 https://www.ft.com/content/ef411fd2-...f-2d32cc9b6788

21 https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...tion-basic-law

22 https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/wo...y-trials-90298

23 https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-52824839

24 http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/...ations/enacted

25 http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1971/77/section/8B




Last edited by Andrew97; 4 months ago
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JMR2020.
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No as per my reasoning in the original thread.
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Miss Maddie
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No! The foreign secretary didn't bother explaining why it was a good idea. I can't vote for things the leader of a department doesn't care about enough to promote.
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El Salvador
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(Original post by JMR2020.)
No as per my reasoning in the original thread.
Why are you against the protesters' demand? And instead prefer inaction as China wants?
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Iñigo de Loyola
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#5
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Mr Speaker, I strongly support this report.

No surrender to the CCP; for Hong Kong, let glory reign!
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Cabin19
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#6
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#6
No I believe if China pursue this route the UK need to look into reclaiming HongKong as they have broken the handover deal. Then under our protection HongKong can be free and liberal. All this is doing is economic sanctions that will adversely hinder ordinary HongKong citizens.
Last edited by Cabin19; 4 months ago
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Iñigo de Loyola
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(Original post by Cabin19)
No I believe if China pursue this route the UK need to look into reclaiming HongKong as they have broken the handover deal. Then under our protection HongKong can be free and liberal. All this is doing is economic sanctions that will adversely hinder ordinary HongKong citizens.
I'm not sure war with a nuclear power would be a good idea.
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Cabin19
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(Original post by LiberOfLondon)
I'm not sure war with a nuclear power would be a good idea.
They would be no war simply a refendum either join China or return to being a British colony!
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Miss Maddie
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(Original post by Cabin19)
They would be no war simply a refendum either join China or return to being a British colony!
China wouldn't respect the result.
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Cabin19
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(Original post by Miss Maddie)
China wouldn't respect the result.
Probably this would be the case. I am very much of the view that something needs to be done about Hong Kong and China. However this bill simply hits Hong Kongs economy hard that in turn will lead to loss of jobs for the poorest in Hong Kong society. Then they is no certainty that this will even stop China from encroaching on Hong Kong
Last edited by Cabin19; 4 months ago
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Iñigo de Loyola
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(Original post by Cabin19)
They would be no war simply a refendum either join China or return to being a British colony!
Communist China aren't known for respecting the results of referenda or elections they disagree with.
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04MR17
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Mr Speaker Andrew97, please change my vote from Aye to Abstain. I ticked the wrong box.
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Napp
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(Original post by 04MR17)
Mr Speaker Andrew97, please change my vote from Aye to Abstain. I ticked the wrong box.
Tsk Tsk, naughty!
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Andrew97
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(Original post by 04MR17)
Mr Speaker Andrew97, please change my vote from Aye to Abstain. I ticked the wrong box.
Can do.
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AditOTAKU666
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We reclaiming Hong Kong when?
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AditOTAKU666
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I don't agreee with this. We should be saving Hong Kong, not spoonfeeding it to the dogs(CCP)...
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AditOTAKU666
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Andrew97 I request that my vote be changed from Nay to Abstain
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ohdearstudying
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Aye, this report perfectly translates the beliefs of the government.
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cranbrook_aspie
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No. While we should hold China to account over its treatment of Hong Kong, I don’t see how a series of largely symbolic measures which only legitimise the CCP’s ultimate goal of completely assimilating Hong Kong by treating it as a part of mainland China helps achieve that.
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The Mogg
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(Original post by AditOTAKU666)
Andrew97 I request that my vote be changed from Nay to Abstain
:whip2::whip2:

Daddy Rakas getting the whip out I see.
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