Hong Kong Pro-democracy Activists

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 11:28 am on 6 July 2023.

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Photo of Layla Moran Layla Moran Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (International Development), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs) 11:28, 6 July 2023

Finn Lau, Christopher Mung and Nathan Law are three incredibly brave individuals who stood up for democratic values while the Chinese Communist party rode roughshod over them in Hong Kong. They sought refuge in the UK because they thought they would be safe. Chillingly, Beijing is trying to do all it can to interfere in what should be their safe haven.

The Government have rightly said that they will not tolerate this intimidation, but I am afraid their words ring rather hollow. The danger to those individuals on these shores feels all too present. We saw it in Southampton in May, we saw it in Manchester at the consulate last October, and we see it in the reported secret police stations. We need more than just condemnation; we need action. Most urgently, that means ensuring that these individuals are safe. Tragically, Finn and Christopher have said that they do not feel safe. They have asked for a meeting with the Foreign Secretary. Can we have confirmation that that will happen?

Can the Minister clarify that it is illegal to bounty hunt in the UK, and that the Government will actively prosecute those who do? Does she agree with Lord Patten that it is now time for those UK judges who still remain on the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal to resign over this? Will the Government reconsider the Foreign Secretary’s planned visit to Beijing in the light of this blatant escalation by China of transnational repression? Finally, will the Government at last take meaningful action against those involved in these warrants, as well as those intent on snuffing out the flame of democracy in Hong Kong?

It is staggering that after everything that has happened, we are yet to sanction a single individual. Our allies acted years ago. We have existing obligations under the joint declaration, yet too often this Conservative Government choose constructive ambiguity rather than firm lines. What is clear on all sides of this House is that it is time for that to change.