Protests continue in Hong Kong, with Government buildings stormed in an attempt to prevent the second reading of the controversial Extradition Bill.
The proposed bill would allow extradition requests from China, Taiwan and Macau for suspects accused of crimes carrying a sentence of more than seven years, such as murder and rape. Protestors and international commentators have expressed concerns that the move could compromise the "one country, two systems" principle, which guarantees citizens of Hong Kong the protection of human rights and freedoms beyond what is possible in mainland China.
In a statement yesterday the Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, urged the Hong Kong government to " listen to the concerns of its people and its friends in the international community and to pause and reflect on these controversial measures".
In a statement to the Commons today, the Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific, Mark Field, told MPs that;
"There can be no doubt that the strength of public feeling in Hong Kong is profound about the proposed changes to Hong Kong's extradition laws, and of course to their broader implications […] We urge the Hong Kong Government, even at this this late stage to heed these concerns and to engage in meaningful dialogue with local and international stakeholders"
Responding, the Shadow Foreign Secretary, Emily Thornberry welcomed the tone of the statement and asked if the Government had sought or seen any provisions safeguarding against the future extradition of political activists. She expressed concerns at the erosion of freedoms enshrined in the Sino-British Joint Declaration, saying, "we see those freedoms and that autonomy being slowly taken away".
Image: Studio Incendo - via flickr
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