The British foreign secretary has accused China of deliberately misleading the world when it passed its new security law in Hong Kong last year in the wake of the latest crackdown on the opposition in the territory.
Dominic Raab reiterated the UK’s offer to holders of British national (overseas) passports in the city to come and live in Britain, and said: “The mass arrest of politicians and activists in Hong Kong is a grievous attack on Hong Kong’s rights and freedoms as protected under the joint declaration,” which set out the terms of the return of the territory from the UK to China in 1997.
“These arrests demonstrate that the Hong Kong and Chinese authorities deliberately misled the world about the true purpose of the national security law, which is being used to crush dissent and opposing political views.
“The UK will not turn our backs on the people of Hong Kong and will continue to offer British nationals (overseas) [citizens] the right to live and work in the UK.”
As international criticism mounted, the last British governor of Hong Kong has told the EU not to go ahead with an economic deal with China.
The arrest of 53 people on charges of “subversion” led Lord Patten to tell the EU it would forfeit its right to be treated as a serious global economic and political power if it went ahead with the draft investment deal.
The draft has yet to be ratified by the European parliament, and Germany, the lead advocate of the deal, will come under intense pressure to justify the closer economic ties.