London, Jun 11 (efe-epa).- The United Kingdom said Thursday that a controversial Hong Kong security law proposed by China would violate the Sino-British Joint Declaration.
The British government has previously said it considers the planned legislation a “violation” of Beijing’s international obligations that would harm the freedoms of the city’s inhabitants.
UK foreign secretary Dominic Raab said in a six-monthly report on the former colony that the legislation “would be a clear violation of China’s international obligations, including those made under the Sino-British Joint Declaration”.
He added: “Hong Kong’s prosperity and way of life rely on freedom of speech and assembly, an independent judiciary and rule of law.”
Raab said the city has experienced “its greatest period of turmoil since the handover” in 1997 and that “the solution to this unrest and its underlying causes must come from Hong Kong, and cannot be imposed from mainland China”.
He urged Beijing to reconsider imposing the legislation, which would make it a crime to challenge the central government.
He added that there is still time “to step back from the brink and respect Hong Kong’s autonomy and respect its own international obligations”.
Raab presented the 46th semi-annual report to parliament on Thursday, which covers the period from 1 July to 31 December 2019.
The minister stressed that the UK remains “fully committed” to its obligations to the ex-colony and reiterated a promise made earlier this month to increase British citizenship routes for Hong Kongers if Beijing implements the law.
He urged the Chinese government to work with Hong Kong authorities and residents to “resolve the underlying tensions through political dialogue”.
Beijing has given the green light to the legislation but it has not yet been imposed.