UK called on Beijing to rethink controversial security bill
The UK Government has announced its intention to provide greater rights to people in Hong Kong unless China rethinks a controversial new security bill.
The UK Cabinet 10 has called on Beijing to “reconsider” sweeping anti-sedition security laws aimed at enhancing stability in the city-state.
Dominic Raab, UK Foreign Secretary, has unveiled its plans to boost rights for British National Overseas (BNO) passport holders in Hong Kong in response to the piece of legislation.
Interestingly, this comes as U-change after that, on December 2019, he entered into an argument with the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, after he allegedly blocked an initiative to allow BNO holders to flee to the UK.
Under current UK law, BNO passport holders are able to travel to the UK for six months without a visa, but they do not posses the right to stay longer or to work. Raab want to provide an extendable 12-month stay periods for BNO holders if Beijing does not “step back” from the reform – and added the move “would itself provide a pathway to future citizenship”.
Tom Tugendhat is Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, said that Hong Kong has changed since handover. He is worried that China’s actions in proposing a new Security Law on the territory undermines the Sino-British Joint Declaration, which was so carefully woven to protect the economic power of the jurisdiction and the rights of the people. That raises important questions for the UK, he said.
Tugendhat argued that Through the Joint Declaration, has protected the city’s unique status and defended some of its institutions including the court, the Legislative Council and the trade agreements, but it has left the people of Hong Kong exposed.
China’s foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said that Hong Kong is “purely an internal Chinese matter”, and added that, “No other country has the right to interfere.”
A UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesperson said told the press that the Cabinet has “urged Beijing to reconsider the implementation of this law and live up to its responsibilities.”
Also, China has on its side, the non-intervention rule principle of international law, that restricts the ability of outside nations to interfere with the internal affairs of another nation.
The non-intervention principle received official United Nations (UN) recognition when the General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Inadmissibility of Intervention and Interference in the Domestic Affairs of States in 1965.
China has argued that this security legislation is needed in the wake of heated clashes that have taken place in Hong Kong in recent times.