Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Britain in the World

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:24 pm on 13th January 2020.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Alistair Carmichael Alistair Carmichael Liberal Democrat Chief Whip, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Exiting the European Union), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs) 6:24 pm, 13th January 2020

The hon. Lady and I have worked on this issue in the past, so she will not be surprised to hear that I agree with her absolutely. That pressure is what is needed. It was shocking enough to hear about the arrest of medics—doctors and nurses—who were offering help to injured protesters in the streets, but the really shocking thing that we heard from Dr Mann last week was that when he took his testimony to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the International Committee of the Red Cross, they said, “There is not much that we can do: we have to stay neutral in this matter.” You cannot stay neutral when you are faced with that sort of brutality, and when the most fundamental human rights are at stake.

We have seen China renege on the joint declaration. It is surely time for the United Kingdom to respond, and that response must go beyond the hand-wringing that we have seen so far. We have witnessed the massive concern that now exists among the Hong Kongers about the British National (Overseas) passport scheme. It was always a messy compromise, and it was never going to be anything better than that, but I think we have reached a point at which that messy compromise is simply no longer sustainable. Surely Hong Kongers with BNO passport status should now be given the right of abode.

As I said to the Foreign Secretary, it is shocking that the global head of Human Rights Watch, Kenneth Roth, should have been denied entry to Hong Kong this weekend. That must be proof, if proof were needed, that what is going on there is something of which China is ashamed, and something on which the House should be prepared to shine the light of scrutiny, because scrutiny and accountability are what will bring the change that is needed there.