UK report says Hong Kong safety regulation used to ‘drastically curtail freedoms’

Beijing has damaged its authorized obligations by undermining Hong Kong’s excessive diploma of autonomy and used a nationwide safety regulation to “drastically curtail freedoms” within the world monetary hub, in keeping with a report by Britain on its former colony.

In a foreword within the six-monthly report overlaying July-December 2020, British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab stated a sweeping nationwide safety regulation Beijing imposed on the town in June final yr was getting used to stifle political opposition.

There had been “clear breaches” of the 1984 Joint Declaration, signed by then Chinese Premier Zhao Ziyang and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher that assured wide-ranging freedoms for Hong Kong, Raab stated.

The report criticised Beijing’s overhaul of Hong Kong’s electoral system, prosecution selections made by the Department of Justice and the contentious safety regulation.

“We have due to this fact now declared China to be in a state of ongoing non-compliance with the Joint Declaration,” Raab stated, including that the nationwide safety regulation was not getting used to focus on a small group of criminals, as acknowledged by Beijing.

“Rather it’s getting used to drastically curtail the area for the expression of different political beliefs and deter freedom of expression and legit political debate,” he stated within the assertion launched on Thursday.

The Hong Kong authorities hit again at what it described as “inaccurate remarks” that would not be “farther from the reality and are clearly double requirements”.

“Any goal particular person will see that because the implementation of the Hong Kong nationwide safety regulation, stability, which is significant to enterprise actions, has been restored to society and nationwide safety has been safeguarded,” a Hong Kong authorities spokesperson stated.

Beijing imposed a nationwide safety regulation on Hong Kong in June that punishes what authorities broadly outline as secession, sedition and collusion with overseas forces with as much as life in jail, following a yr of typically violent demonstrations.

Western governments and worldwide human rights teams have expressed concern the regulation will crush freedoms in Hong Kong.

Britain, which dominated Hong Kong for over 150 years till it handed it again to China in 1997, has stated the safety regulation was a breach of the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration that paved the way in which for the handover.

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