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.”

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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