To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the number of the pro-democracy protesters and activists prosecuted under Hong Kong's public order ordinance since 2014, and (2) the compliance of the public order ordinance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
In the most recent Six Monthly Report to Parliament, published on 15 March, the Foreign Secretary said “The rule of law and independence of the judiciary is the foundation on which Hong Kong’s success and prosperity is built. This reporting period has seen a large number of cases related to the political system come before Hong Kong’s courts… The judiciary in Hong Kong remains in high esteem. It will be vital that the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government is seen to use the system of justice fairly in all cases.”
I note that Hong Kong’s current International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) review is expected to report in late summer, and that the previous review recommended that Hong Kong “should ensure that the implementation of the Public Order Ordinance is in conformity with the Covenant”.
Individual cases regarding pro-democracy activists are a matter for the Hong Kong courts. However, the British Government has highlighted its hope that recent criminal proceedings do not discourage lawful protest, or discourage young people engaging in politics in the future. Hong Kong citizens are guaranteed the right to freedom of assembly and demonstration under the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law. As I set out to this House on 24 January, the British Government takes its commitment under the Joint Declaration very seriously.