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.

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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.

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.”

Hugo Swire: People must have a genuine choice in the 2017 chief executive election

Hugo Swire | 14 September 2013 | South China Morning Post

Hugo Swire says the transition to universal suffrage can ensure Hong Kong’s stability, and it is vital that people have a genuine choice in 2017.

Hugo Swire is UK Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

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