On Wednesday 9th June Andrew participated in a Westminster Hall debate about Hong Kong. Below is a transcript of Andrew's speech
I pay tribute to my honourable Friend for securing this important and timely debate about Hong Kong and to add my voice to support the arguments he has so powerfully made.
Last Friday marked the 32nd anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, when the Chinese Communist Party brutally repressed pro-democracy protests in 1989, killing thousands and causing panic amongst Hong Kongers, many of whom were refugees from Chairman Mao’s purges and feared authoritarian communist rule.
This was five years after Margaret Thatcher had signed the Sino-British Joint Declaration with Deng Xiaoping, agreeing to hand Hong Kong over to China in 1997. In 1982, Deng had told Mrs Thatcher that he could “walk in and take the whole lot this afternoon,” to which she responded that if he did, “the eyes of the world would know what China was like.”
Well, Mr…… the Tiananmen Square Massacre showed the world what China was like and their disregard for the rights of their own citizens.
Prime Minister John Major promised that if there was any suggestion of a breach of the Joint Declaration, Britain would have a duty to pursue every legal and other avenues available.
The Sino-British Joint Declaration was supposed to guarantee Hong Kong’s freedoms, rule of law, and way of life unchanged for a period of fifty years. It was a legally binding treaty lodged at the United Nations underpinning Hong Kong’s mini-constitution and provided the Basic Law with freedom of expression, a free press, an independent judiciary and the right of Hong Kongers to participate in free elections.
But the National Security Law introduced by Beijing is nothing less than an all-out assault on Hong Kong’s autonomy and freedoms and a complete violation of that treaty. The pace at which we have watched the decline of one of the most open and international cities in Asia is shocking and should alarm us all.
So, as the co-signatory of the Joint Declaration and the guarantor of Hong Kong’s autonomy, Her Majesty’s Government must now take more determined action:
First, there must be a punitive cost for those Hong Kong and Chinese officials who are guilty of dismantling the city’s autonomy and engaged in cracking down on the city’s pro-democracy movement.
All individuals involved in the destruction of democracy in Hong Kong should be the subject of coordinated Magnitsky sanctions with the Government working in tandem with our allies.
Second, we must do more to support those brave young protestors, many of whom face the prospect of arrest under this draconian law, but do not qualify for the Government’s BNO visa scheme. We should now make an exception for those born after 1997, who cannot come over as dependents.
Third, the Government must stand up for those pro-democracy activists in jail who have British citizenship. The silence by the Government over the ongoing detention of the owner of Apple Daily newspaper, Jimmy Lai, cannot be allowed to continue. The British government has a responsibility to defend British citizens from Chinese government oppression.
Finally, the Government should not allow the UK’s chairmanship of this week’s expanded G7 summit to go to waste.
Hong Kong must be on the agenda. It is both the right time and forum to press for coordinated action from the world’s leading democracies to the crisis in Hong Kong.
This should include the creation of a UN Special Rapporteur for Hong Kong.
The crisis in Hong Kong represents a substantial challenge to the idea of Global Britain.
The people of Hong Kong look to this the United Kingdom, as a once proud Crown Colony, to lead the international response and Her Majesty’s government cannot let them down!