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 Helen Goodman Helen Goodman Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs) 3:39 pm, 22nd July 2019

Thank you for granting this urgent question, Mr Speaker, and I congratulate my hon. Friend Catherine West on securing it. The situation in Hong Kong is getting more and more serious by the day. The temporary suspension of the extradition laws was never going to be enough to appease the protesters. Their demonstrations are the culmination of years of frustration and based on the fear of interference by Beijing in Hong Kong affairs. It is time for some significant change.

Yesterday’s vicious attack by a mysterious armed mob on pro-democracy protesters making their way home is a new and sickening low in this sorry chapter. It was nothing less than an attempt to bully and frighten peaceful protesters into submission. The Hong Kong police have come in for a lot of criticism since June for their heavy-handedness and brutality, but they were nowhere to be seen on this occasion, and over 40 people were injured in the attack. Why was it allowed to happen?

Our call for an independent inquiry has so far been met with a less than satisfactory response. I therefore wonder whether the Minister can update the House on the Foreign Secretary’s call for an independent judge-led inquiry into the conduct of the Hong Kong police. We do not know who these people were or who put them up to it, but it is vital to find out. Does the Minister have any information as to the identity of the attackers and from where their orders came?