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UK says China has breached treaty by quashing opposition in Hong Kong

Pro Democracy Legislators Wu Chi Wai, Andrew Wan And Lam Cheuk Ting Wave To Media After Handing In Their Resignation Letters In Hong Kong
Pro-democracy legislators Wu Chi-wai, Andrew Wan and Lam Cheuk-ting wave to media after handing in their resignation letters as four pan-democratic legislators were disqualified when Beijing passed a new dissent resolution in Hong Kong, China November 12, 2020. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

Britain said on Thursday that China had once again broken the Sino-British Joint Declaration by imposing new rules to disqualify elected legislators in Hong Kong.

“Beijing’s imposition of new rules to disqualify elected legislators in Hong Kong constitutes a clear breach of the legally binding Sino-British Joint Declaration,” Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said.

“China has once again broken its promises and undermined Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy,” Raab said.

Hong Kong’s autonomy was guaranteed under the “one country, two systems” agreement enshrined in the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration signed by then Chinese Premier Zhao Ziyang and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

Britain now considers China has broken the Joint Declaration three times: the other times were in 2016 and in 2020 when Beijing introduced the Hong Kong National Security Legislation.

“The UK will stand up for the people of Hong Kong, and call out violations of their rights and freedoms,” Raab said. “With our international partners, we will hold China to the obligations it freely assumed under international law.”

Hong Kong’s pro-democracy opposition lawmakers said on Wednesday they would resign in protest against the dismissal of four of their colleagues from the city assembly after Beijing gave local authorities new powers to further curb dissent.

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