The British government on Thursday released its “Biannual Report on Hong Kong”, saying Beijing cracked down on political dissidents and suppressed the expression of different political views during the period. The report criticized Beijing for undermining the Sino-British Joint Declaration’s guarantees of a high degree of autonomy, rights and freedoms for Hong Kong. Britain declares that China has persistently failed to comply with the Sino-British Joint Declaration.
The British government publishes the Biannual Report on Hong Kong, which describes the situation in Hong Kong from July to December last year. The report says Beijing violated the Joint Declaration three times last year, twice between July and December.
The report criticizes the implementation of the national security law in Hong Kong, which does not target “a small group of people” as Beijing has said, but rather suppresses freedom of expression. The report also says the provisions of the law are “vague” and that there is a threat of potential long-term imprisonment and transfer to mainland China for trial and sentencing. The report argues that the National Security Law has been used to stifle political dissidents, especially the 55 pro-democracy and social movement activists arrested for this reason, some of whom are facing trial, and if there are more political prosecutions in the future, it will undermine outside confidence in the rule of law in Hong Kong.
The report also said that the NPC Standing Committee unilaterally changed Hong Kong’s electoral system without obtaining the consent of the Legislative Council, giving Beijing authorities greater control over candidates and even disqualifying those elected. The report argues that Beijing and the SAR government have clearly undermined the space for Hong Kong people to exercise their rights and freedoms, and that Britain has indefinitely shelved the agreement with Hong Kong on the transfer of fugitive offenders and set up the BNO visa program to open up an immigration path for some Hong Kong people.
Earlier, the EU condemned Hong Kong’s changes to its electoral system as undermining the principle of “one country, two systems” and running counter to the promises of the Basic Law. The EU said it was considering sending a delegation to Hong Kong.