Convenor of Hong Kong 2020, Anson Chan and founder of the Hong Kong Democratic Party, Martin Lee met Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg MP in London, yesterday (15 July). They were assured by Clegg that the British Government remains firmly committed to ensuring the faithful implementation of the Sino-British Joint Declaration and that Prime Minister David Cameron had emphasised this to Chinese leaders during his visit to Beijing in December 2013 and to Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang, when the latter visited London in June.
Clegg said that he was aware of the anxiety aroused in Hong Kong by the tone and content of the Chinese Central Government’s White Paper on ‘The Practice of One Country Two Systems’. Chan and Lee briefed him on specific concerns that the White Paper’s re-interpretation of the parameters of the Hong Kong SAR’s high degree of autonomy and statements that Hong Kong judges have a responsibility to safeguard China’s sovereignty, security and development interests, and must be ‘loyal to the country’, are completely incompatible with the terms of the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law.
Clegg affirmed that the British Government would honour the pledge made by former Prime Minister John Major in 1996 that, if China breached the 1984 treaty it signed with Britain on the handover of Hong Kong, Britain would mobilize the international community and pursue every legal and other avenue available.
Chan and Lee’s busy programme has also included a lunch meeting on Monday, hosted by Dr Liam Fox MP and a meeting on Tuesday with members of the China All Party Parliamentary Group. On Wednesday (16 July) they will give evidence at a public session of the UK Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee.