Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL484):
Question by Lord Alton of Liverpool:
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the disqualification of Joshua Wong from being able to stand for election in the District Council elections in Hong Kong; whether they are monitoring those elections for irregularities; whether they intend to challenge any unjust disqualifications and irregularities; and if so, how. (HL484)
Tabled on: 29 October 2019
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon:
We are concerned by the rejection of Joshua Wong’s nomination for next month’s local elections. Standing for election is a fundamental right enshrined in Hong Kong’s Basic Law and Bill of Rights. Now, more than ever, it is vital that Hong Kong’s political processes and institutions help to build trust amongst the public. Hong Kong’s success is built on its rights and freedoms, including open and inclusive debate. We will continue to make these points to the Hong Kong SAR government.
Hong Kong district council elections will be an important opportunity for the citizens of Hong Kong to exercise their rights to make their voices heard. We will of course follow the conduct of the elections closely, and raise any concerns with the relevant authorities.
Date and time of answer: 04 Nov 2019 at 17:18.
Joshua Wong’s Disqualification From Contesting Hong Kong’s District Council Elections Throws Doubt On The Legitimacy of The Elections. Question Raised In Parliament. Link to Thursday’s 3 Hour House of Lords Debate….
I was shocked to see that Joshua Wong – one of the courageous founders of Hong Hong’s Umbrella Movement has been disqualified from standing in the Council Elections. This is yet another attempt to undermine democracy and autonomy.
I have tabled this Question to the UK Government today: Lord Alton of Liverpool to ask Her Majesty’s Government What assessment they have made of the disqualification of Joshua Wong from being able to stand for election in the District Council elections in Hong Kong; whether they are monitoring the elections for irregularities; and how they intend to challenge unjust disqualifications and irregularities.
To read last Thursday’s debate on Hong Kong, go to:
Also see Joshua Wong’s letter from his prison cell…
The Times Newspaper Reports on Tests Which Chinese Journalists Are Now Required To Take Or Lose Their Press Credentials…
Outside Observers Should Monitor Hong Kong Elections
Parliamentary Reply October 31st –
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL271):
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether there is any international initiative to send independent observers to monitor the local district council elections in Hong Kong due to be held on 24 November; and what assessment they have made of the basis on which those elections are being held. (HL271)
Tabled on: 22 October 2019
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon:
We are not aware of any initiative to send international observers to monitor the upcoming District Council elections in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong district council elections will be an important opportunity for the citizens of Hong Kong to use the rights enshrined in the Basic Law to make their voices heard. With this in mind, we will of course follow the conduct of the elections closely.
Today the UK Government published it’s six-monthly report on Hong Kong, reviewing January to June. Hong Kong Watch said in response that the report fails to adequately address urgency of police brutality
And this is full the Hong Kong Watch response:
STATEMENT: UK Government 6-monthly calls for ‘credible political track’ to protect rights and freedoms, but fails to adequately address urgency of police brutality
Hong Kong Watch are concerned that the latest UK Government six-monthly report fails to adequately address police brutality by the Hong Kong Police Force, or call for an independent judge-led inquiry into police brutality. This type of inquiry, which has been proposed by prominent figures from across Hong Kong, including former Chief Justice Andrew Li, is widely seen by protestors to be a necessary step if there is to be any deescalation. It is therefore disappointing that the current UK Foreign Secretary has stepped back from his predecessor’s call for such an inquiry.
There are positive dimensions of the report, which is comprehensive in its accounts of events from January, particularly addressing concerns about the extradition bill. The report also highlights the many important statements and diplomatic actions taken by the UK in the reporting period. Furthermore the Foreign Secretary’s conclusion rightly calls for a “credible political track to protect rights and freedoms”. He says:
“As I have made clear in my conversations with both State Councillor Wang Yi, China’s Foreign Minister, and Chief Executive, Carrie Lam, we must look ahead to the path towards de-escalation and political resolution. Protesters must end the violence. The police response must be proportionate in their handling of protesters and safeguard the right to peaceful protest. And there must be a meaningful dialogue between all parties, with a credible political track to protect the rights and freedoms set out in Hong Kong’s Basic Law and the Sino-British Joint Declaration, which reflects and respects China’s avowed “One Country, Two Systems”. Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy, and rule of law is what guarantees its future prosperity and success. It is incumbent on all sides to respect it.”
However, the Foreign Secretary stops short of calling for an independent judge led inquiry into police brutality. This is disappointing, firstly because this demand is eminently reasonable, widely supported and a necessary step if there is to be deescalation; and secondly, given the fact that the former Foreign Secretary made this call.
Furthermore, only one paragraph of the report is given to the events of June 12, referring to “clashes”, but not reflecting the disproportionate and unnecessary use of force by the police against peaceful demonstrators. The events of June 12 were the spark which led to 2-million people marching in the streets, and the codification of the 5 demands of the protestors. The reason for this was that the indiscriminate, brutal and disproportionate police violence rightly horrified large swathes of the Hong Kong public. Amnesty International verified scores of incidents where the police used excessive force. The six-monthly reports failure to condemn the brutality of the police in this event is a glaring omission, particularly given the role that the police’s actions subsequently played in stirring further protest. It is vital that the next six-monthly report takes a stronger line in condemning disproportionate and indiscriminate violence by the police.