China's parliament last week approved a decision to create laws for Hong Kong to curb sedition, secession, terrorism and foreign interference. Mainland security and intelligence agents may be stationed in the city for the first time.
"There is time for China to reconsider, there is a moment for China to step back from the brink and respect Hong Kong's autonomy and respect China's own international obligations," British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told parliament.
Hong Kong fell to sixth place from third in the latest ranking of global financial centres, according to the Z/Yen global financial centres index, behind New York, London, Tokyo, Shanghai and Singapore. It was Asia's top hub in 2019.
Raab said the security law was in breach of the "one country, two systems" principle enshrined in the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration, and also conflicted with Article 23 of China's own basic law.
If it goes ahead, Raab said the United Kingdom will form an alliance of countries to resist China, whose $14 trillion economy dwarfs every Western economy apart from the United States, which has a $21.4 trillion economy.
DOMINIC RAAB: The basic law is clear that there--
Mr. Speaker, there is time for China to reconsider. There is a moment for China to step back from the brink and respect Hong Kong's autonomy and respect China's own international obligations. And we urge the government of China to work with the people of Hong Kong, with the Hong Kong government to end the recent violence and to resolve the underlying tensions based on political dialogue.
But if China continues down this path--
Mr. Speaker, if China follows through with its proposed legislation, we will put in place new arrangements to allow BNOs to come to the UK without the current six-month limit, enabling them to live and apply to study and work for extendable periods of 12 months, thereby also providing a pathway to citizenship.
Mr. Speaker, let me just finish by saying that even at this stage, I sincerely hope China will reconsider its approach. But if not, the UK will not just look the other way when it comes to the people of Hong Kong. We will stand by them. We will live up to our responsibilities, and I commend this statement to the House.
- I will--