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Sino-British Joint Declaration

Volume 676: debated on Monday 11 May 2020

What assessment he has made of the effect on the Sino-British Joint Declaration of recent actions by the Chinese Government in Hong Kong. (902374)

There have been a number of concerning recent developments in Hong Kong. As co-signatory of the joint declaration, the UK expects the mainland Chinese authorities to respect Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy and the rights and freedoms provided in that legally binding treaty. We are monitoring the situation very closely and will provide a full assessment of implementation of the joint declaration in six-monthly reports to Parliament.

Beijing’s top political office in Hong Kong recently referred to pro-democracy protesters as a “political virus” and declared itself as being entitled to interfere in Hong Kong as it sees fit—clear breaches of the joint declaration. What plan do the Government have to help British national (overseas) passport holders in Hong Kong, should the deterioration of relations continue?

The Foreign Secretary commented in Parliament on 26 September that the status of British nationals overseas was

“part of the delicate balance”—[Official Report, 26 September 2019; Vol. 664, c. 865]

in the negotiations that led to the Sino-British joint declaration. We believe that it would undermine the commitments made under the memorandum exchanged in connection with the joint declaration to change the arrangements regarding the status of BNOs, but we monitor the situation constantly. I know the right hon. Gentleman takes a keen interest in the issue.