Hong Kong is “the canary in the coalmine” for democracy, says senior Labour Shadow Minister Stephen Kinnock MP

Speaking at a special roundtable discussion on 24th March entitled, ‘Human rights in Hong Kong’ and chaired by Siobhain McDonagh MP, Vice-Chair of the APPG on Hong Kong, Stephen Kinnock MP Shadow Minister for Asia & Pacific said:

“We are appalled in the Labour party at the devastating assault on the rights and freedoms of the people of Hong Kong and the values which we cherish and hold dear.”

“We’ve seen in the past few years a significant erosion of Hong Kong’s special autonomous status and multiple violations of the basic law which China itself has signed up to, effectively ending the one country two systems principle.”

He went on to criticize the government’s “complete lack of strategy on China”, saying:

“We have been bitterly disappointed at the UK government’s failure to take tangible action on what’s happened in Hong Kong.

“We finally saw this week Magnitsky-style sanctions against Chinese officials for crimes against the Uygher people, but not a single Hong Kong official has been sanctioned and we have received no explanation from the government as to why this has not been done.”

The event was hosted by the grassroots organisation Stand with Hong Kong, to address how the Labour Party could show solidarity with Hongkongers. Beijing has been steadily rolling back rights and freedoms in the city since the outbreak of protests against proposed extradition laws in 2019, imposing legislation which many argue is in breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration.

Also speaking at the event were Francis, a representative of Stand with Hong Kong, and the escaped pro-democracy lawmaker Ted Hui, who criticized the continued role of British judges in Hong Kong courts:

“With the introduction of the National Security Law the administration of Hong Kong is now freely able to interfere with judicial decisions, for example by handpicking judges or excluding British judges from hearing political cases.

“But by being present in the courts British judges lend a false legitimacy to that judicial system, when in fact the rule of law has already been crushed in Hong Kong.”

You can watch the full recording of the webinar below:

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