Britain soft on China over Hong Kong crisis, says Chris Patten

Territory’s last British governor says Beijing is being allowed to ‘spit in the face’ of handover pact because of trade fears

The Guardian, Wednesday 5 November

Britain is not putting enough pressure on China to stick to its side of an agreement on the transfer of Hong Kong’s sovereignty because it is worried about damaging trade links, the former Hong Kong governor Chris Patten has said.

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Patten criticises UK’s ‘keep shtoom’ policy on Hong Kong

BBC 4 November 2014

Lord Patten has said the UK should be doing more to support democracy in Hong Kong, suggesting its policy of “keeping shtoom” was counter-productive.

The last British governor of Hong Kong suggested the UK was reluctant to raise difficult issues with Beijing because of fears of losing trade opportunities.

Ministers should speak out publicly rather than talk “behind their hands”. Continue reading

Global Solidarity Campaign: Support the Fight for Democracy in Hong Kong

For immediate release

Global Solidarity Campaign: Support the Fight for Democracy in Hong Kong  
We are a coalition of overseas Hongkongers who are organizing a series of solidarity actions to voice support for the weeklong class boycotts and democracy movement in Hong Kong.
On Saturday, Sept 27, 9 cities in Bosnia, Canada, the UK and the USA will be leafleting, organizing stand-in or protesting to demand democracy in Hong Kong. Organizers in Berlin will be hosting the event on the following day, on Sept 28.

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Taiwan Backs Democracy Movement in Hong Kong

12 Sept 2014 | Voice of America

Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council Deputy Minister Wu Mei-hung urged the governments in Hong Kong and Beijing to use tolerance.

She said that with respect to the Hong Kong people’s desire for universal suffrage, her office and every segment of Taiwan expresses a high level of concern and support. Wu said her office hopes the Hong Kong government and leaders in mainland China can use wisdom, tolerance of different opinions and rational dialogue and other peaceful means to reach a consensus.

Lai I-chung, vice president of Taiwan Think Tank, said Hong Kong has lost its appeal for Taiwanese since Communist China took it back from Britain.

“I think they’re now looking at Hong Kong as a place that’s a Chinese territory. Since Taiwan democratized and Hong Kong is reverting back to China, Hong Kong is no longer presented as a new place for hope or place for modernity, not a place Taiwan would like to learn from,” said I-Chung.

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Open Petition to UK Government: Clarify Your Stance over Hong Kong’s Democratic Future

Open petition on Change.org

In response to the comments made by The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) on Sep 4, 2014

1) The Chinese governemnt’s proposed model to pre-screen Hong Kong Chief Executive (CE) candidates before Hong Kong citizens are allowed to vote does NOT meet international standards on universal suffrage, in particular Article 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which includes the right to run and be elected without unreasonable restrictions, and to which Hong Kong is a party under Article 39 of the Basic Law;

2) The election method proposed by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPCSC) does NOT give Hong Kong people a “genuine choice,” since candidates must be approved by at least 50% of a nominating committee dominated Beijing loyalists;

3) In light of the current crisis, the FCO’s undefined “welcoming”, mere “recognition” and indecisive “hope” are NOT conducive to producing meaningful progress toward democracy in Hong Kong and may eventually be interpreted by Beijing as a green light to do as it wishes.

The people of Hong Kong have consistently striven for genuine universal suffrage through different ways over the years. Given the pledge in the Basic Law that China would eventually allow Hong Kong to elect its CE through universal suffrage, and that China has promised to do so in 2017, as a party to the Joint Declaration, Prime Minister David Cameron and the British Government owe a duty to the people of Hong Kong and the international community to monitor and censure China for reneging on this all-important promise now.

OCLP Toronto Support Group & Canada-Hong Kong Link: Joint Statement in response to the decision of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee on Hong Kong constitutional reform

31 Aug 2014

The National People’s Congress Standing Committee made a high-handed decision on August 31st re the framework of Hong Kong Chief Executive election in 2017. It is stipulated that the rights of nomination of candidates must be given to the Nomination Committee. The number of candidates is limited to two to three and shall be passed by over half of the Committee. This narrow and compelling sphere of election framework undoubtedly kills the public members’ rights of a universal and equal opportunity to nominate and be nominated. It also pays a monumental disregard to Hong Kong people’s strong demand for a genuine universal suffrage.  Continue reading

UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s “great insult” to Hong Kong

4 Sept 2014 | Original

Anson Chan, Hong Kong’s “iron lady,” says FCO’s comments are “a great insult.” 

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has responded to China’s plans for electoral reform in Hong Kong.

An FCO spokesperson said:

  • We welcome the confirmation that China’s objective is for the election of Hong Kong’s Chief Executive through universal suffrage.
  • The UK’s position has always been that the detail of the constitutional package is for the Governments of Hong Kong and China and the people of Hong Kong to decide in line with the Basic Law.
  • While we recognise that there is no perfect model, the important thing is that the people of Hong Kong have a genuine choice and a real stake in the outcome. We recognise that the detailed terms that the National People’s Congress has set for the 2017 election will disappoint those who are arguing for a more open nomination process.
  • We hope that the next period of consultation will produce arrangements which allow a meaningful advance for democracy in Hong Kong, and we encourage all parties to engage constructively in discussion to that end.

Hon Sir Richard Ottaway MP: We plan to continue with our inquiry

3 Sept 2014 | Foreign Affairs Committee

The Committee also published letters from the Chinese government and Hong Kong Trade Office threatening the UK to refrain from “interfering in China’s internal affairs.”

Hon Sir Richard Ottaway MP, Chairman of the Committee:

“I want to be quite clear that we are not seeking to interfere in China’s internal affairs. What we are investigating is the FCO’s ongoing assessment of the implementation of the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration, under which sovereignty over Hong Kong was transferred to China. That is part of our role in oversight of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and it is an entirely legitimate interest of the Committee. We will also consider other aspects of how the FCO handles the relationship between the UK and Hong Kong, such as business and cultural ties.

We plan to continue with our inquiry, and I very much hope that we can find a way, through discussion with the Chinese authorities, for China to make a contribution to our understanding of how the principles of the Joint Declaration are being put into practice.”

President Ma Expresses Supports For Hong Kong’s Pursuit of Full Democracy

3 September 2014 | Kuomingtang (KMT)

The Mainland’s National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee has rejected pro-democracy activists’ demands for the right to freely choose Hong Kong’s chief executive in 2017, triggering a series of street protests.  
 
During the KMT’s weekly Zhongshan meeting (中山會報) yesterday, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), who doubles as KMT Chairman, threw his support behind Hong Kong’s push for democracy. He stated, “Democracy and the rule of law are core values long sought-after by the people of Hong Kong. People in Taiwan from all walks of life are closely watching the latest developments in Hong Kong and we support the residents of Hong Kong’s quest for direct election of the chief executive.”
 
 

China Sows Seeds of Crisis in Hong Kong

Sophie Richardson | 2 September 2014 | Human Rights Watch

The Chinese government has a talent for producing precisely the outcome it doesn’t want: whether it’s repressing religion, culture, and expression in Xinjiang so much that tensions now run extremely high, restricting the space for helpful civic groups such that they find it difficult to operate or imprisoning some of its most constructive critics, stifling opportunities for peaceful debate and progress.

The recent developments in Hong Kong fit the pattern. On August 31, China’s top legislative body, the National People’s Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC) handed down its decision: no real democracy for Hong Kong for the near future, and those who most passionately “love Hong Kong and love China” – but don’t love the Chinese Communist Party – will never be allowed to lead the territory’s government.

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Chris Patten: Britain is honour bound to speak up for Hong Kong

Chris Patten | 2 September 2014 | Financial Times

The former British colony of Hong Kong has all the attributes of a liberal society except one: its people lack the ability to choose who governs them. The latest political convulsion in the territory has been caused by electoral arrangements proposed by the National People’s Congress, which would prevent democrats and others of whom China might disapprove from seeking election as chief executive in a vote of Hong Kong’s citizens.

Such vetting is more or less what happens in Iran. Sooner or later this plan, or a modification of it, will have to be voted on by Hong Kong’s legislature, and I hope a compromise can be found. The territory’s citizens remain remarkably moderate and responsible. It is not democracy that produces the sort of mass demonstrations we have recently witnessed but its denial.

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British parliament rejects Chinese call to halt Hong Kong democracy probe

Kylie Maclellan and Andrew Osborn | 2 Sept 2014 | Reuters

Britain’s parliament has rejected Chinese calls to scrap an inquiry into Hong Kong’s progress towards democracy, a senior lawmaker said, warning that reforms there may violate a 1984 deal on the former British colony’s sovereignty.

Richard Ottaway:

“My job is to see if Britain is living up to its side of the undertakings and secondly if China isn’t living up to their undertakings then what is the British government doing about it. This is not interfering in the internal affairs of China; that would be completely inappropriate.” 

“If you have a committee which is not neutral in nominating a limited number of candidates, there seems to be a prima facie case that the undertakings given have been breached. I don’t particularly want to irritate the Chinese. I want them to understand the way we work.”

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Chinese organizations in North America: Open Letter to US Congressmen and Canadian Members of Parliament

Issued on 1 September 2014

We are writing to urge you to monitor the constitutional development in Hong Kong and to pressure the Chinese Government to honor their promises to the people of Hong Kong under the principle of “One Country Two Systems,” stated in the Sino-British Joint Declaration of 1984 and the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s constitutional document. Continue reading

Northern California Hong Kong Club’s Open Letter to Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)

Sent on 1 Sept 2014

Representative Nancy Pelosi,  

Thank you for standing up for human rights in China over the years and, in particular, meeting Mr. Martin Lee and Ms. Anson Chan in early April, 2014 to hear the update on the urgent political situation of Hong Kong.  Continue reading

Chinese Organizations in North America: An Open Letter to the Honorable Prime Minster Mr. Stephen Harper, the House of Commons and Fellow Canadians

We are urging you to monitor the constitutional development in Hong Kong and to press the Chinese Government to honor their promises to the people of Hong Kong on “One Country Two Systems” stated in the Sino-British Joint Declaration of 1984 and the constitution of Hong Kong, the Basic Law.

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Northern California Hong Kong Club: Call on Pro-democracy Legco Member to Veto NPC Fake Democracy Proposal

Issued on 31 August 2014

On Sept 1, NCHKC sent letters to the following US officials to urge them to speak out for Hong Kong people:

  • Vice President Joe Biden
  • Representative Nancy Peloci, House leader for Democrat,
  • Senator Sherrod Brown, Chairman of Congressional-Executive Commission on China
  • Representative Christopher Smith, Co-chairman of Congressional-Executive Commission on China

We salute the tremendous courage shown by the people of Hong Kong who will be starting a series of peaceful resistance actions in defiance of Beijing’s denial of their democratic rights.

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Human Rights Watch: China: Stop Interfering in Peaceful Hong Kong Protests

29 August 2014 | Human Rights Watch

The Chinese central government and Hong Kong authorities should not impede peaceful protests or other means of peaceful expression, Human Rights Watch said today. China’s top legislature is set to formally announce its decision on Hong Kong’s political reform on August 31, 2014, and the expected announcement is likely to trigger large protests.

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