‘Chinese authorities have demanded Britain drop an inquiry into the progress of democratic reforms in Hong Kong, accusing it of “highly inappropriate” interference in its internal affairs.
The UK Foreign Affairs Committee has been sent a letter from its Beijing counterpart after announcing plans in July to look into the state of democracy in Hong Kong. The territory was handed over to Chinese control in 1997, over a century-and-a-half after first being leased as a British Crown colony.
The letter said the probe would be a “highly inappropriate act which constitutes interference in China’s internal affairs,” according to the BBC.
The move would send “a wrong political signal to the outside world, and disrupted Hong Kong’s political reform.” It would also “have a negative impact on the relations between our countries.”
The Chinese committee urged British lawmakers to “act with caution on the issue of Hong Kong, bear in mind the larger picture of China-UK relations and Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability, stop interfering in Hong Kong’s affairs and cancel the inquiry on UK-Hong Kong relations.”
British lawmakers are examining the implementation of the Sino-British Joint Declaration of 1984, the deal that handed Hong Kong back to China, states that the Special Administrative Region should have a semi-autonomous status and executive power, and that personal rights in the territory must be enshrined by law.
Britain has maintained a commitment to Hong Kong since the transfer of sovereignty, with the British foreign secretary reporting to parliament on the territory every six months.’