The Foreign Affairs Select Committee has reaffirmed that it will proceed with its inquiry into the UK’s relations with Hong Kong, despite opposition by the Chinese Government. The Committee will postpone its visit to Hong Kong but will continue to take oral evidence, potentially including evidence by videolink.
Chairman of the Committee, Sir Richard Ottaway MP, said:
“We are not going to be pressured by the Chinese Government into abandoning our inquiry, nor are we going to cancel plans to hear from people in Hong Kong. The approach taken by China has been very revealing, and we shall be looking carefully at how the Foreign Office responds.”
The Speaker of the House of Commons announced today that there would be an emergency debate tomorrow afternoon on the ban imposed by China on the Committee’s visit to Hong Kong later this month.
At a meeting on Friday with Mr Ni Jian, the Chinese Deputy Ambassador to the UK, the Committee Chairman was told that “Hong Kong came back to China 17 years ago, it is a Chinese territory and we oppose any interference in its internal affairs.” Mr Ni added that “the Committee’s delegation making a so-called inquiry and scrutinising Hong Kong may send the wrong signals to the figures of ‘Occupy Central’. Also, it shows some encouragement for illegal actions.” When the Chairman asked whether the Committee would not be allowed into Hong Kong, Mr Ni replied “100 per cent surely. You will not be allowed.”
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