The report covers a broad range of political and economic developments and an overview of UK-Hong Kong bilateral activity over the reporting period.
Writing in his foreword the Foreign Secretary, The Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP said:
The Sino-British Joint Declaration remains as relevant today as when it was signed by the governments of the UK and China more than thirty years ago. It continues to be a legally binding treaty, registered with the UN, and the UK Government remains committed to monitoring its implementation.
I judge that most provisions of the Joint Declaration are being implemented faithfully, and that ‘One Country, Two Systems’ generally continues to function well. I am concerned, however, about continued pressure on Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy and on the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Joint Declaration and enshrined in the Basic Law.
In my first visit to China as Foreign Secretary in July, I raised the matter of Hong Kong with my counterpart, State Councillor Wang Yi. I recognised the successes of ‘One Country, Two Systems’, but also underlined concerns about a range of incidents documented in this series of reports to Parliament in recent years.
On freedoms guaranteed by the Basic Law, the Foreign Secretary wrote,
The UK Government’s view on independence is well known – we believe that it is neither a realistic nor a desirable option for Hong Kong. However, the right of freedom of expression, freedom of speech and academic freedom are guaranteed by the Joint Declaration and enshrined in the Basic Law.
On the importance of diverse political debate, the Foreign Secretary wrote,
Hong Kong has benefitted from having a Legislative Council that represents a wide spectrum of political opinion, and from open and uncensored debate about the full range of issues facing Hong Kong. I believe that both are essential features of ‘One Country, Two Systems’ and have contributed in no small measure to Hong Kong’s success. I hope that the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) will continue to strive to create an environment that supports open debate and enables people representing the full range of political opinion to play a role in the governance of Hong Kong.
The Foreign Secretary concludes by writing,
I believe that ‘One Country, Two Systems’ continues to be the best arrangement for Hong Kong’s long-term stability and prosperity, and for the city’s reputation as a global financial centre and leading advocate of free trade. As Foreign Secretary, I look forward to championing the flourishing links between the UK and the Hong Kong SAR Government, businesses and people in support of these goals.
Read the report in full: Six monthly report on Hong Kong: January to June 2018
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