Date
20 September 2017
Former SCMP editor Jonathan Fenby (right) testifies to the British Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee about Hong Kong. Photo: YouTube
Former SCMP editor Jonathan Fenby (right) testifies to the British Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee about Hong Kong. Photo: YouTube

British parliamentary panel hears from HK witnesses

Hong Kong protesters who called for a mass sit-in outside the British consulate-general have given testimony to the parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee in London.

The protesters, a veteran journalist and several pan-democratic politicians were invited to testify at an inquiry into the implementation of the Sino-British Joint Declaration in Hong Kong, Ming Pao Daily reported Wednesday.

The inquiry follows China’s refusal to allow a delegation of members of Parliament who sit on the committee to visit the former British colony last month.

Jonathan Fenby, editor-in-chief of the South China Morning Post from 1995 to 2000, told the inquiry Tuesday the government in Beijing wants to control Hong Kong’s politics and economy.

The city’s property and retail sectors are highly dependent on mainland homebuyers and consumers, which is a factor slowing the pace of political reform, he said.

Fenby told the committee the media in Hong Kong is facing great internal pressure, although he didn’t see any of it coming from Beijing or the Hong Kong government while he was the SCMP’s editor after the handover.

He said he believed the rule of law could protect the freedom of the press.

Two representatives of the Occupy British Consulate-General Hong Kong Action Group attended the hearing, independent online media outlet SocRec reported. They also handed a petition to the British Parliament.

The parliamentary website named them as Hui Sin-tung, a University of Hong Kong student, and Tang Chi-tak, a Chinese University of Hong Kong student.

Last month, the group issued a call for a mass sit-in outside the British consulate-general to try to pressure the British government to stand up for the rights of Hong Kong people.

Democratic Party chairwoman Emily Lau, Labour Party chairman Lee Cheuk-yan and League of Social Democrats vice-chairman Avery Ng are among pan-democrat politicians who have been invited for a dialogue with representatives of the committee Thursday Hong Kong time.

Lau and Lee said they will speak to the committee via video conference.

Ng said he had been invited to meet the committee members in Britain but that the time had yet to be fixed. If given the opportunity, Ng said, he will update the committee on the Umbrella movement.

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EL/AC/FL

Hui Sin-tung, a University of Hong Kong student (left), and Tang Chi-tak, a Chinese University of Hong Kong student, give testimony to the British MPs. Photos: YouTube


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