Britain tells china to honour commitments to protect freedoms in Hong Kong

British Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt. Image: Frank Augstein/Pool via REUTERS.

DHARAMSALA, 3 July: Britain has issued a stern warning to China to honour its commitments to protect freedoms in Hong Kong.

British Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt has warned of consequences if China neglects commitments made when it took back Hong Kong to allow freedoms not enjoyed in mainland China, including the right to protest, the Reuters reported.

“We can make it clear we stand behind the people of Hong Kong in defense of the freedoms that we negotiated for them when we agreed to the handover in 1997 and we can remind everyone that we expect all countries to honor their international obligations,” Hunt has told Reuters when asked what Britain could do.

Hunt has made the remarks on Tuesday after China said on Monday that Britain no longer has any responsibility for Hong Kong and needed to stop “gesticulating” about the city.

The latest protest in Hong Kong on the controversial, now suspended, extradition bill saw some protesters ransack the main chamber of the Legislative Council – known in Hong Kong as LegCo on Monday night on the 22nd anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover to China from Britain. Police firing tear gas later evicted the protesters from the legCo using brute force dragging and beating them.

The British Foreign Minister has further condemned violence on both sides and added that he hoped to avoid sanctions for China, saying: “I hope it won’t come up anything like that at all,” the report added.

“There is a way through this which is for the government of Hong Kong to listen to the legitimate concerns of the people of Hong Kong about their freedoms,” he concluded.

Explaining why the protesters broke into the LegCo, Joshua Wong, a Hong Kong activist and secretary-general of pro-democracy party Demosistō has said that LegCo never represented its people, reports the BBC.

“The fundamental problem is that the Legislative Council of Hong Kong is never democratically elected by people. that’s why people tried to get inside, and enter the LegCo. To show how the LegCo never represented the voice of the people,” he says and argues that, “If the LegCo was democratically elected, nobody would join the rally, because we could vote it down and block the extradition bill inside the system, instead of outside on the streets.”

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