Rishi Sunak must slap sanctions on pro-Beijing Hong Kong officials for alleged human rights abuses, a group of cross-party MPs and peers has said.
The All Parliamentary Party Group (APPG) on Hong Kong today said the British government should financially sanction Hong Kong chief executive John Lee Ka-chiu, ex-chief executive Carrie Lam and other senior officials for “serious human rights abuses and systematic breaches of the Sino-British Joint Declaration”.
Chinese-backed politicians have been installed into senior positions by Beijing and now enforce the 2020 National Security Laws, which clamped down on freedom of speech in Hong Kong.
The laws made criticism of the Chinese Communist Party a crime.
A new report from Stand with Hong Kong, an independent campaign group, has outlined alleged police brutality and arbitrary detention carried out against protesters and overseen by senior Hong Kong officials.
The APPG on Hong Kong – which includes MPs like Bob Seely, Siobhain McDonagh and Andrew Rosindell – has said the evidence points to widespread human rights abuses.
Lord Alton, vice chair of the APPG, said: “Despite China’s egregious human rights abuses and continued contempt for the Joint Declaration, successive British governments have failed to meaningfully oppose or deter the CCP’s brutality in Hong Kong.
“Therefore, the UK must, in accordance with its legal, historical and moral obligations to Hong Kong, take proportionate and decisive action.
“The UK government must heed this new report and use its Magnitsky-style sanctions regime to impose severe measures that finally force Beijing and Hong Kong to take note.”
Hong Kong has operated under the “one country, two systems” framework since its handover from Britain to China in 1997, however Beijing has broken down the divide over the past decade.
Pro-democracy politicians have been purged from Hong Kong’s Legislative Council and the National Security Laws set up Chinese security agencies in the region for the first time.
The UK says the 2020 changes were a breach of the 1984 British-Sino Joint Declaration, which guaranteed Hong Kong autonomy for 50 years.