Jeremy Hunt, the foreign secretary, has urged the Hong Kong authorities to respect the “rights and freedoms” of its citizens ahead of a huge protest against a controversial extradition bill on Monday, the 22nd anniversary of the handover of the former British colony to China.
Demonstrators are expected to flood the streets in the latest in a series of massive demonstrations against a draft bill that would allow alleged criminal suspects in the territory to face trial in China for the first time.
Under intense public pressure the draft law, which critics say threatens Hong Kong’s status as a global financial hub, was suspended on June 15 but not fully withdrawn as protesters had demanded.
“Recent protests in Hong Kong make it even more important on the anniversary of the handover to reiterate that the UK government’s commitment to the Sino-British declaration is unwavering,” said Mr Hunt.
The bilateral declaration was signed between the UK and China in 1984. It sets out a “one country, two systems” principle that guarantees Beijing’s communism will not be forced on Hong Kong and the city’s capitalist system and way of life will be preserved until 2047.