Europe, Asia - Pacific

UK: May urges Hong Kong to respect extradition rules

Foreign Office urges Hong Kong government to address growing public concerns over proposed extradition laws

UK: May urges Hong Kong to respect extradition rules


British Prıme Minister Theresa May on Wednesday urged the government of Hong Kong to respect the extradition rules of an 1984 declaration while the Foreign Office called for calm over growing protests ın the territory over a bill to allow extradition to China.

"We are concerned about potential effects of these proposals, particularly obviously given the large number of British citizens there are in Hong Kong," May told parliament on Wednesday.

"But it is vital that those extradition arrangements in Hong Kong are in line with the rights and freedoms that were set down in the Sino-British joint declaration," she added.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the ongoing demonstrations represent a clear signal of significant public concern about the proposed changes to the current extradition laws by the government, calling on all sides to show calm and restraint.

“I urge the Hong Kong government to listen to the concerns of its people and its friends in the international community and to pause and reflect on these controversial measures,” Hunt said, emphasizing that “it is essential that the authorities engage in meaningful dialogue and take steps to preserve Hong Kong’s rights and freedoms and high degree of autonomy, which underpin its international reputation”.

“Upholding the principle of ‘One Country, Two Systems,' provided for in the legally binding Sino-British Joint Declaration, is vital to Hong Kong’s future success,” he added.

Hong Kong has been brought to a standstill by hundreds of thousands of people protesting legal changes to the extradition law, which would make it easier for China to extradite people from the semi-autonomous city.

The demonstrations are said to be the largest since the 2014 umbrella movement. Hong Kong residents argue the proposed bill will be used by authorities to target political enemies and erode the democratic rights unique to Hong Kong.

The U.K. relinquished control over Hong Kong in 1997 and handed over the semi-autonomous city to China. Under the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration, the city is governed through a dual system in which the local government decides local policies while foreign and defense policies are decided by China.

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