Richard Drax, MP for South Dorset, yesterday asked Ministers in Parliament what would happen in Hong Kong in 2047, when the island is handed back to China permanently.
Drax was speaking after an Urgent Question in the House, following this week’s violent attacks on pro democracy demonstrators at a metro station in Hong Kong. The attackers, stick-wielding thugs in white are widely suspected to have been members of pro-Beijing criminal gangs, or triads.
Drax said, “Hong Kong is a peaceful place, but there is growing evidence that the Chinese Government are quite prepared to throw their weight around. If these so-called triads were indeed triads, they would not have just gone around attacking people on the station. That does not happen unless they are instructed to do so. Does the Minister share my concern for the future of the island? If this sort of thing is happening now, what is going to happen in 2047, when the island is handed back to China full-time?”
Foreign Office Minister Dr Andrew Murrison, replied, “My hon. Friend is right to say that in 2047 the formal period covered by the Sino-British joint agreement will come to an end. The Government hope that the good practice in that agreement, which we hope will continue during the timeline of this particular agreement, will continue thereafter. In particular, we hope that the commitment to the one country, two state system, and the basic law and everything that is contained within that, including measures to further democracy beyond that which currently exists, will continue. I do not necessarily share my hon. Friend’s pessimism, but there is real benefit in the special status of Hong Kong as far as China is concerned. I very much hope that if China wants Hong Kong to continue to be a place where business is done and foreign revenue is earned, it will insist on the continuation of human rights and democracy, which underpin the uniqueness of Hong Kong to the mutual advantage of Hong Kong and mainland China.”
“I share Dr Murrison’s aspirations for Hong Kong,” says Drax, “but this was a long standing British colony and we bear a heavy responsibility for the fate of the Hong Kong Chinese. The triads have long been suspected of doing Beijing’s dirty work and at the moment, the pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong are thwarting the wishes of the Chinese government.”
“We handed over the colony but we are joint executors of this agreement for another 27 years. We cannot simply abandon our former citizens to the mercy of an autocratic and ruthless government.”