Beijing has damaged its authorized obligations by undermining Hong Kong’s excessive diploma of autonomy and used a nationwide safety legislation to “drastically curtail freedoms” within the world monetary hub, in response to a report by Britain on its former colony.
In a foreword within the six-monthly report overlaying July-December 2020, British Overseas Minister Dominic Raab mentioned a sweeping nationwide safety legislation Beijing imposed on the town in June final yr was getting used to stifle political opposition.
There had been “clear breaches” of the 1984 Joint Declaration, signed by then Chinese language Premier Zhao Ziyang and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher that assured wide-ranging freedoms for Hong Kong, Raab mentioned.
The report criticised Beijing’s overhaul of Hong Kong’s electoral system, prosecution choices made by the Division of Justice and the contentious safety legislation.
“We have now, subsequently, now declared China to be in a state of ongoing non-compliance with the Joint Declaration,” Raab mentioned, including that the nationwide safety legislation was not getting used to focus on a small group of criminals, as said by Beijing.
“Fairly it’s getting used to drastically curtail the area for the expression of different political beliefs and deter freedom of expression and legit political debate,” he mentioned within the assertion launched on Thursday.
The Hong Kong authorities hit again at what it described as “inaccurate remarks” that would not be “farther from the reality and are clearly double requirements”.
“Any goal particular person will see that because the implementation of the Hong Kong nationwide safety legislation, stability, which is significant to enterprise actions, has been restored to society and nationwide safety has been safeguarded,” a Hong Kong authorities spokesperson mentioned.
Beijing imposed a nationwide safety legislation on Hong Kong in June that punishes what authorities broadly outline as secession, sedition and collusion with overseas forces with as much as life in jail, following a yr of generally violent demonstrations.
Western governments and worldwide human rights teams have expressed concern the legislation will crush freedoms in Hong Kong.
Britain, which dominated Hong Kong for over 150 years till it handed it again to China in 1997, has mentioned the safety legislation was a breach of the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration that paved the way in which for the handover.
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