Lord Patten and Lord Ashdown urge Prime Minister to speak up for Hong Kong during China visit


The last Governor of Hong Kong, Lord Patten, and the former Leader of the Liberal Democrats Lord Ashdown have today written to the Prime Minister Theresa May ahead of her visit to China, urging her to raise the situation in Hong Kong with Chinese leaders and “to insist on the continued validity of the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the principles of ‘one country, two systems’”.

The letter expresses concern about the “increasing threats to the basic freedoms, human rights and autonomy” of the people of Hong Kong over the past five years. These concerns are summarised in the background note below.

Lord Patten and Lord Ashdown refer to the concerns of the Hong Kong Bar Association and others about the proposal by China to impose mainland Chinese law at the new high-speed rail terminus in Hong Kong.

They express the hope that the Prime Minister “will be able to provide the people of Hong Kong with some assurance that our developing relationship with China, vital though it is, will not come at the cost of our obligations to them.”

The letter follows debates in both the House of Commons and House of Lords on Hong Kong last week, and the publication of a report by Lord Ashdown, one of Hong Kong Watch’s five Patrons, following his recent visit to Hong Kong.

Benedict Rogers, Chair of Hong Kong Watch, said: “We are delighted that two of Britain’s most distinguished political leaders, both with a long history of deep commitment to Hong Kong, from two different political parties, have come together to write to the Prime Minister ahead of her visit to China. We warmly welcome their call for the Prime Minister to highlight the serious concerns over increasing threats to basic freedoms and autonomy in Hong Kong, and we hope that the Prime Minister will indeed make it a priority to express these concerns in her meetings with President Xi Jinping and others in China.”

Note to Editors

Click here to read the letter in full

NewsHong Kong Watchhraf, ww