Raab accuses China of ‘non-compliance’ with Sino-British Joint Declaration

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

The UK considers China to be in a “state of ongoing non-compliance” with the Sino-British Joint Declaration after Beijing’s latest move to tighten control over Hong Kong, the Foreign Secretary has said.

Dominic Raab condemned China’s decision to impose “radical” changes which reduce the role of the public in picking the territory’s leaders – instead giving a pro-Beijing committee power to appoint more legislators.

He said the move was part of a “pattern designed to harass and stifle all voices critical of China’s policies” and marked the third breach of the legally binding Joint Declaration in less than nine months.

Mr Raab said in a statement: “Beijing’s decision to impose radical changes to restrict participation in Hong Kong’s electoral system constitutes a further clear breach of the legally binding Sino-British Joint Declaration.

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“This is part of a pattern designed to harass and stifle all voices critical of China’s policies and is the third breach of the Joint Declaration in less than nine months.

“The Chinese authorities’ continued action means I must now report that the UK considers Beijing to be in a state of ongoing non-compliance with the Joint Declaration – a demonstration of the growing gulf between Beijing’s promises and its actions.

“The UK will continue to stand up for the people of Hong Kong. China must act in accordance with its legal obligations and respect fundamental rights and freedoms in Hong Kong.”

He said earlier this year that China’s imposition of the national security law in Hong Kong – which makes it easier to punish protesters – constituted a “clear and serious breach” of the Joint Declaration contrary to international law.

The Sino-British Joint Declaration was signed in 1984. Mr Raab has previously said the agreement made clear that Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy, rights and freedoms would remain unchanged for 50 years.