Hong Kong

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:39 pm on 22nd July 2019.

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Photo of Catherine West Catherine West Labour, Hornsey and Wood Green 3:39 pm, 22nd July 2019

I agree with the Minister that the peaceful nature of the demonstrations must be paramount. Does he agree that there has been some doubt as to the wording of the governor of Hong Kong’s promise to suspend the plans around extradition, and that that could do with some clarification? Does he also agree that huge numbers of people are taking part, which reveals a deep concern about these ongoing proposals, and is there any way that he can use his office to assist in the clarification that the extradition plans will be 100% dropped?

Obviously this month saw the 22nd anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong from Britain to Chinese rule, and the day was marked by real fear among many people in Hong Kong that the principle of one country, two systems is being reneged on. Media reports paint an alarming picture: 45 people were injured, and of significant concern is that one of those was a journalist, and there is a question over press freedoms and the fact that the police were very slow to respond.

Coupled with the escalation in violence, reports also came out this weekend that the UK Government approved an export license for £1.9 million-worth of telecommunications interception equipment to Hong Kong. Will the Minister tell the House what human rights assessment was made before the approval of that licence given the concerns raised previously about the Hong Kong authorities’ treatment of protesters during student protests in 2014, and how the Government intend to address the ongoing urgent concerns about the protests and the way they are being handled? Finally, will the Minister once more provide assurances that we stand with the people of Hong Kong in defending their democratic right to protest?