Hong Kong

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:04 pm on 18th June 2019.

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Photo of Helen Goodman Helen Goodman Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs) 2:04 pm, 18th June 2019

Thank you, Mr Speaker, for granting this urgent question; I congratulate Mr Carmichael on securing it.

Hong Kong is one of the most important international cities in the world, but in the past fortnight it has been plunged into utter chaos. Over the weekend, 2 million people took to the streets to protest against the extradition Bill. That is nearly one third of the entire population of Hong Kong. Although the Opposition welcome the suspension of this disastrous Bill, suspension is not enough. The Bill needs to die. It is an affront to democracy and the rule of law in Hong Kong, and a fundamental breach of the one country, two systems principle. A grovelling apology by Carrie Lam this morning and promises of greater consultation do not change this fact. The Hong Kong Executive now have a choice to make. If they listen to their citizens, the Bill will be scrapped. These protests should also prompt serious reflection on the condition of democracy in Hong Kong, and on the increasing crackdown on dissent and protest. It is time to put democratic reform back on the agenda in Hong Kong.

I am disappointed that the Minister does not feel able to take a view on the contents of the Bill. We do not have an extradition agreement with China, so why should Hong Kong? I raised my next point during the last urgent question on the subject, but did not get a very clear answer, so let me ask the Minister again: if the Hong Kong Executive decide to push on with the Bill’s implementation, will the Government review the UK’s extradition arrangements with Hong Kong?