Flags on show forward of the July 1st anniversaries of Hong Kong’s handover to China and the a hundredth anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party – Anadolu Agency
A gaggle of MPs are calling on the British Government to impose sanctions on Chinese officers over a crackdown in Hong Kong, precisely a yr after a sweeping nationwide safety regulation got here into pressure.
The regulation has develop into “the main instrument to eradicate Hong Kong’s autonomy,” the MPs, together with Lord Alton of Liverpool and Baroness Bennett, wrote in a letter to Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.
“The Chinese Government and its agents are moving ruthlessly to dismantle Hong Kong’s fabric of society, interpret laws arbitrarily, restrict the rights and freedoms that had previously existed,” mentioned the letter.
The MPs famous that many Hong Kong officers have private hyperlinks and belongings within the UK, making Magnitsky-style sanctions “a very effective tool to hold them accountable,” and particularly recognized Carrie Lam, the town’s chief govt, as a goal.
MPs and rights teams have been urging the UK to introduce sanctions ever because the nationwide safety regulation was launched. The regulation criminalises the vaguely-outlined crimes of secession, subversion, terrorism and overseas collusion, punishable by as much as life in jail.
The US announced sanctions in opposition to one other 24 Chinese officers earlier this yr in response to the crackdown.
But up to now the UK has restricted itself to declaring a number of instances that China is in breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration, a UN-registered worldwide treaty meant to ensure Hong Kong’s distinctive freedoms till at the very least 2047.
The Government has additionally launched a path to citizenship for Hong Kong individuals who maintain British National (Overseas) passports, a colonial-period holdover that offered a journey doc however not the best to dwell or work within the UK.
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Still, politicians and activists have mentioned extra must be executed as opposition voices – lawmakers, barristers, journalists – are more and more being jailed or arrested whereas making an attempt to depart Hong Kong.
In latest days, Apple Daily, the town’s hottest tabloid newspaper that was at instances crucial of Beijing, was forced to shut down after the federal government froze its belongings, arrested executives and seized computer systems.
Hong Kong is now in a “human rights emergency,” mentioned Yamini Mishra, Asia-Pacific regional director for Amnesty International, which estimates 114 individuals have been arrested beneath the regulation.
“The [Hong Kong] government has repeatedly used ‘national security’ as a pretext to justify censorship, harassment, arrests and prosecutions,” Amnesty mentioned in a press release. “People charged under the law are effectively presumed guilty rather than innocent.”
More just lately, Hong Kong police have began arresting individuals with flags or stickers with protest slogans on them, paraphernalia popularised throughout mass professional-democracy demonstrations in 2019, for allegedly violating anti-sedition legal guidelines from the British colonial period.
Those individuals had been additionally alleged to have damaged the nationwide safety regulation, in keeping with circumstances highlighted in native media, in what might point out a shift by the authorities to justify using the nationwide safety regulation by making it look like on par with laws already on the books.
MPs Baroness D’Souza, Lord Hunt of Kings Heath, Stewarc McDonald, Virendra Sharma and Viscount Ridley additionally signed the letter despatched to Mr Raab.
The Telegraph has reached out to Mr Raab for remark.