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China, UK spar over refusal to let British MPs visit HongKong
December 1, 2014, 1:23 pm

British Prime Minister David Cameron has also underlined that his government sees China’s decision as “mistaken” [Image: gov.uk]

British Prime Minister David Cameron has also underlined that his government sees China’s decision as “mistaken” [Image: gov.uk]

In what could turn into a diplomatic standoff between China and the UK, Beijing on Monday defended it’s decision to not allow British lawmakers to visit Hong Kong and urged them not to interfere in its internal affairs.

“The Chinese central government and the government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region have told Britain several times that they resolutely opposed the so-called delegation of the House of Commons foreign affairs select committee going to Hong Kong for a so-called investigation and asked for the visit to be canceled,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying at a press briefing on Monday in Beijing.

“I have noticed that someone on the British parliament’s foreign affairs select committee said that China’s banning of them entering Hong Kong was overtly confrontational,” she said.

British Prime Minister David Cameron has also underlined that his government sees China’s decision as “mistaken”.

“His view is that the decision with regard to the foreign affairs committee is a mistaken one. It’s counter productive because it only serves to amplify concerns about the situation in Hong Kong, rather than diminishing concerns,” Cameron’s spokesperson told reporters in London on Monday.

Meanwhile, Beijing warned if certain British lawmakers were determined to do this, that would be genuinely overt confrontation and not beneficial for Sino-British ties.

Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China, and HK affairs are purely China’s internal affairs, said the spokesperson.

“China has many times expressed its firm opposition to any foreign government, organization or person’s interference in HK affairs,” she added.

China has always attached great importance to Sino-British ties, which meet the common interests of both countries and peoples, she said.

“The door is always open to those who are committed to enhancing Sino-British ties. Meanwhile, we firmly oppose and will never allow anyone interfere in our internal affairs,” she added.

The chairperson of British parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee had criticized the Chinese government’s refusal to let British parliamentarians enter Hong Kong.

“We are a committee of elected Members of Parliament from a democratic nation who wish to scrutinise British diplomatic work in Hong Kong. The Chinese Government are acting in an overtly confrontational manner in refusing us access to do our job,” said Richard Ottaway in a statement.

Hong Kong has been rocked with protests against Chinese government plans to control the 2017 election in the former British colony. Hong Kong’s top official is currently chosen by a group of 1,200 electors. Only some seats in Hong Kong’s Legislative Council are chosen by the public.

Activists are saying Beijing has gone back on its pledge to allow universal suffrage in the former British colony, which was promised a high degree of autonomy when it was handed back to China by Britain in 1997.

According to Hong Kong’s “Basic Law” and the top Chinese legislature’s decisions, more than 5 million Hong Kongers can choose the chief executive in 2017 through a “one man, one vote” election. The formula allows it wide-ranging autonomy and freedoms and specifies universal suffrage for Hong Kong as an eventual goal, which had never been realized under the British colonial rule.

 

TBP and Agencies

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