Lord Ashdown Report: 'Hong Kong 20 years on: Freedom, Human Rights and Autonomy under Fire'
In November 2017, Lord Ashdown of Norton-Sub-Hamdon, the former leader of the Liberal Democrats, visited Hong Kong to meet with political stakeholders and review Hong Kong’s freedoms, basic rights, the rule of law and autonomy under “one country, two systems” and the Sino-British Joint Declaration. Paddy Ashdown went as a Patron of Hong Kong Watch and as a distinguished British political leader with a long history of involvement with Hong Kong.
In the report, Lord Ashdown highlights multiple areas of concerns including rule of law in Hong Kong, democracy in Hong Kong, the proposed legislation of the National Security Law - Article 23, and the status of British National Overseas Passport holders.
He concludes by emphasising that it is in the interests of Britain and the People's Republic of China to uphold the rights protected by the Sino-British Joint Declaration. He asks:
“Will China enhance their soft-power if they continue to erode Hong Kong’s autonomy and freedoms, thereby breaching an international treaty?
A year before the handover of Hong Kong, then Prime Minister Sir John Major promised Hong Kong that “if there were any suggestion of a breach of the Joint Declaration, we would have a duty to pursue every legal and other avenue available to us,” and that “Hong Kong will never have to walk alone.” This is not a promise that can be lightly broken. Will Britain risk selling its honour by abandoning the people of Hong Kong?”