Date
22 September 2017
David Cameron has been accused of not speaking up for Hong Kong’s rights as he met Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in London this week. Photo: Reuters
David Cameron has been accused of not speaking up for Hong Kong’s rights as he met Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in London this week. Photo: Reuters

Cameron has shirked responsibility over HK: Martin Lee

Veteran democrat Martin Lee has criticized British Prime Minister David Cameron for putting his nation’s economic interests above Hong Kong’s political rights.

Lee, a former legislator and the founding chairman of the Democratic Party, said Cameron had abdicated his responsibility by not speaking up for Hong Kong people and the city’s autonomy as guaranteed by the Sino-British Joint Declaration of 1984.

Following a meeting between Cameron and visiting Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, a joint statement released by China and the UK in London Tuesday only referred to Hong Kong briefly.

“Both sides agreed it is both in China and the UK’s interests to promote the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong in accordance with the ‘one country, two systems’ principle and the Basic Law,” the statement said, without going into the debate currently raging in Hong Kong after Beijing released a white paper last week.

China’s State Council asserted in the white paper that it has “comprehensive jurisdiction” over Hong Kong and that it is the source of the city’s autonomy.

“There were two countries signing the Joint Declaration. How can the British government not mention anything about it? It said things in such a way that everything is going fine,” Lee said, according to Apple Daily.

Lee, who helped draft Hong Kong’s Basic Law, believes the British government avoided pressing the Hong Kong issue as it did not want to jeopardize its economic links with China.

Deals worth more than HK$230 billion (US$30 billion) were signed during Li’s visit to the UK, according to the Chinese embassy in London.

“The UK cannot relinquish a big responsibility to Hong Kong, just because it wants to earn Chinese money,” Lee said. “It is not something a responsible prime minister should do,” he said, referring to Cameron.

Meanwhile, Chen Zuoer, a former deputy director of the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, said the central government and Hong Kong have different understating of the “one country, two systems”.

In an interview with Hong Kong’s Cable TV, Chen said “one country” cannot be on par with “two systems”. He slammed sections of Hong Kong people for defying the law.

Chen warned that the Occupy Central movement could bring disaster to Hong Kong. Amid the threats to Hong Kong, the central government will not just look on with folded arms, he said.

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JH/JP/RC

EJ Insight reporter

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