Hong Kong

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:36 am on 12th November 2020.

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Photo of Stephen Kinnock Stephen Kinnock Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs) 10:36 am, 12th November 2020

This assault on democracy represents not only a clear breach of the Basic Law and the joint declaration; it also confirms that the Chinese Government and the Hong Kong Executive are committed to the removal of dissenting voices from the democratic process, and to the repression of the rights of the people of Hong Kong. The Labour party stands in solidarity with the four pro-democracy representatives who have been removed from the Legislative Council, and with the 15 additional Opposition Members who have resigned in protest. Their departure leaves Hong Kong without an Opposition in the legislature, removing one of the vital checks on the Hong Kong Executive and effectively denying the people of Hong Kong the right to choose their own representatives.

The UK Opposition welcomed the Government’s recent announcement regarding BNO passport holders, but it would be unacceptable for the UK Government now to conclude that they have done all they can for the people of Hong Kong. With that in mind, I ask the Minister the following questions.

First, does the Minister agree that the British Government are legally obliged, through the joint declaration, to defend human rights in Hong Kong, and that failure to do so, to the utmost of their abilities, would put the UK in default of its treaty obligations? Secondly, when will we see details of what the UK Government are offering by way of support to Hongkongers born after 1997? Thirdly, will senior Hong Kong Executive officials now be added to the Magnitsky list? The Minister has been asked this question many times and he has consistently declined to give a definitive answer. Who in Government is holding this up? Fourthly, the Foreign Secretary has rightly condemned the likes of HSBC and Standard Chartered bank for their stance on Hong Kong, but could the Minister please update the House on what action, if any, has actually been taken against those two banks?