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Foreign Secretary makes statement on Hong Kong National Security Legislation and UK response

2 June 2020 (updated on 2 June 2020)

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On 22 May, during a meeting of the National People's Congress, China considered a proposal for a national security law for Hong Kong. On 28 May, the National People's Congress adopted this decision.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab began by updating the House on the situation in Hong Kong, saying “Hong Kong's historic success was built on its autonomy, its freedoms and the remarkable resourcefulness and determination of its people.”

Speaking about the proposed national security law, Mr Raab said that it “undermines the one country two systems framework under which Hong Kong is guaranteed a high degree of autonomy with executive, legislative and independent judicial powers.”

He added:

“the proposed national security law, as its been described, raises the prospect in terms of the substance and the detail, of prosecution in Hong Kong for political crimes, which would undermine the existing commitments to protect the rights and the freedoms of the people of Hong Kong as set out in the joint declaration.”

Mr Raab added that it is because the UK recognises China's role in the world that it is expected to live up to the international obligations and responsibilities that come with it. On Thursday 28 May, the UK released a joint statement along with partners in Australia, Canada and the United States, expressing deep concerns over the proposed new security legislation.

Responding on behalf of the Opposition, Shadow Foreign Secretary, Lisa Nandy responded by expressing deep concerns about the events in Hong Kong, adding “we share the Government's opposition to the National Security Law, we want to see real action to address police brutality and the steady erosion of the joint declaration.”

The Shadow Foreign Secretary pressed Mr Raab for more clarity on British National Overseas (BNO) passport holders, adding that the Opposition welcomes the announcement that visa rights will be extended.

Ms Nandy said: “He [Foreign Secretary] says they [BNO passport holders] will be able to come to the UK if China continues its path and implements this legislation.”

She asked:

“At which stage he envisages us taking action – when will these measures be brought before the House? Can I also ask him for more details about how this will apply? Will is apply to the 350,000 people who hold valid passports or to the 2.9million who are eligible?”

The Shadow Foreign Secretary added: “The first rule of any sanction against China must surely be that it doesn't harm the people of Hong Kong, so can he tell us what assessment he's made of the potential loss of millions of highly skilled people from Hong Kong?”

Image: David Iliff

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