Raab accuses China of hollowing out space for democratic debate in Hong Kong

Harriet Line, PA Deputy Political Editor
·1-min read

The Government is considering whether China’s latest move to tighten control over Hong Kong breaches the Sino-British Joint Declaration.

The National People’s Congress voted on Thursday to reduce the role of its public in picking the territory’s leaders – giving a pro-Beijing committee power to appoint more legislators.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said it is the latest step by China to “hollow out the space for democratic debate” in the former British colony.

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He said: “This is the latest step by Beijing to hollow out the space for democratic debate in Hong Kong, contrary to the promises made by China itself.

“This can only further undermine confidence and trust in China living up to its international responsibilities and legal obligations, as a leading member of the international community.”

The Government is understood to be assessing whether the announcement breaches the Sino-British Joint Declaration – a legally binding treaty which the UK has previously accused China of breaching.

Mr Raab said earlier this year that China’s imposition of the national security law in Hong Kong – which makes it easier to punish protesters – constitutes a “clear and serious breach” of the joint declaration contrary to international law.