U.K. Accepting Hong Kong Election Limits ‘Insult,’ Chan Says

Ting Shi and Jasmine Wang | 5 Sept 2014 | Bloomberg

The U.K. government’s acceptance of China’s plan for limiting free elections in its former colony of Hong Kong is a “great insult,” said the city’s former chief secretary.

Anson Chan:

“What’s happening in Hong Kong and the way Beijing is treating Hong Kong are inconvenient truths that the British government would rather ignore.”

Martin Lee: 

“The British government policy in Hong Kong can be summarized in three words: More China trade.”

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British Response to Election Limits Upsets Activists in Hong Kong

Alan Wong | 5 Sept 2014 | New York Times

HONG KONG — For months, democracy advocates in Hong Kong have called for an open election for the city’s leader and for international pressure to be exerted on Beijing to not interfere with Hong Kong’s autonomy.

That effort suffered another blow on Thursday when the British government said that it welcomed an act of China’s legislature that set strict limits on how Hong Kong is allowed to select its next leader, even while it acknowledged that the “detailed terms” of Beijing’s decision would “disappoint those who are arguing for a more open nomination process.”

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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.

Anson Chan, former ‘Iron Lady’ of Hong Kong, now fights for democratic rights

William Wan | 5 August 2014 | Washington Post | Reposted in the Guardian Weekly

She is often called the “Iron Lady” of Hong Kong. Anson Chan earned respect serving as Hong Kong’s second-highest official when the British were in charge. And when the colony was handed back to China in 1997, Beijing enlisted Chan to help with that transition.

“I never in my wildest dream predicted 17 years after the handover that Hong Kong would be in this state. Nor did I foresee – and this is particularly disappointing – that all three parties to the joint declaration and the Basic Law [Hong Kong’s equivalent of a constitution] – Beijing, Britain, Hong Kong’s government – would all choose to walk away from their promises to the people of Hong Kong.”

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Nick Clegg meets Hong Kong democracy activists

Nicholas Watt | 15 July 2014 | The Guardian

“The UK remains fully committed to the joint declaration and we will not shy away from defending the principle of ‘one country, two systems’. This government believes that the best way to preserve Hong Kong’s strengths and to ensure that it continues to prosper is through a transition to universal suffrage which meets the aspirations of the people of Hong Kong.

“The important thing is that the people of Hong Kong have a genuine choice and feel that they have a real stake in the outcome of the 2017 election.”

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Former Hong Kong official says UK failing to defend democracy

Demetri Sevastopulo, Kiran Stacey | 22 June 2014 | Financial Times

Anson Chan, the number two official in Hong Kong when the UK handed the colony back to China in 1997, has criticised British prime minister David Cameron for failing to stand up for democracy in the territory.

Mrs Chan, the former chief secretary, said Mr Cameron had neglected to voice support for Hong Kong when he met Chinese Premier Li Keqiang last week. Their meeting took place amid a fierce debate in Hong Kong over relations with China following Beijing’s recent publication of a controversial white paper suggesting there were limits to the territory’s democracy.

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U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown: The future of freedom and democracy in Hong Kong is under serious threat

James Pomfret | 7 April 2014 | Reuters

“The future of freedom and democracy in Hong Kong is under serious threat,” U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, head of the U.S. Congressional Commission that advocates improved human rights and the rule of law in China, said in a statement.

 

“China is already placing “pre-conditions” on who can run (in 2017), raising serious doubts about whether the elections will be free and fair,” he added, during the session.

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China warns U.S. not to meddle in Hong Kong over democratic reform

James Pomfret | 7 April 2014 | Reuters

China has cautioned the United States not to interfere in Hong Kong affairs after Vice President Joseph Biden met two prominent pro-democracy advocates who have warned of Beijing’s tightening control of the territory, state news agency Xinhua said.

A former British colony that reverted to Chinese rule in 1997, Hong Kong enjoys considerable autonomy and broad freedoms as a capitalist hub.

But it has been locked in a lengthy battle with Beijing’s leaders to push through reforms that could culminate in a direct election of its leader in 2017.

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Joe Biden underscored long-standing support for democracy in Hong Kong

4 April 2014 | The White House – Office of the Vice President

Readout of the Vice President’s Meeting with Hong Kong Pro-Democracy Advocates

Vice President Biden dropped by a meeting today at the White House with two of Hong Kong’s leading pro-democracy advocates, former Legislative Council member Martin Lee and former Chief Secretary Anson Chan. The Vice President underscored our long-standing support for democracy in Hong Kong and for the city’s high degree of autonomy under the “one country, two systems” framework.

Link

Congressional-Executive Commission on China: Prospects for Democracy and Press Freedom in Hong Kong

3 April 2014 | Congressional-Executive Commission on China

Under China’s “one country, two systems” policy, Hong Kong residents enjoy greater freedom and autonomy than people in mainland China, including freedoms of speech, press, and religion. China has stated it intends to allow Hong Kong residents to elect their Chief Executive by universal suffrage for the first time in 2017 and to elect Hong Kong’s Legislative Council by universal suffrage in 2020. As Hong Kong’s government contemplates electoral reform in the run-up to the 2017 election, concerns are growing that China’s central government will attempt to control the election by allowing only pro-Beijing candidates to run for Chief Executive. Concerns over press freedom have also grown in the wake of several incidents in which journalists have been violently attacked or fired.

The roundtable featured two prominent advocates for Hong Kong democracy, Martin Lee and Anson Chan, who examined the prospects for Hong Kong’s democratic development.

Link