Three Parliamentary Replies from Ministers —Hong Kong’s withdrawal of press credentials from journalists from the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and New York Times; potential breach of the 1984 Sino–British Joint Declaration; and breaches by Companies of Section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 by profiting from Uighur slave labour – which passes the buck to consumers and charities to take action as Government washes its hands of its responsibility


 

Three Parliamentary Replies from Ministers —Hong Kong’s withdrawal of press credentials from journalists from the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and New York Times; potential breach of the 1984 Sino–British Joint Declaration; and breaches by Companies of Section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 by profiting from Uighur slave labour – which passes the buck to consumers and charities to take action as Government washes its hands of its responsibility

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL2791):

Question: Lord Alton of Liverpool


To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of China about the preservation of freedom of speech in Hong Kong following the withdrawal of press credentials from journalists from the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and New York Times. (HL2791)

Tabled on: 23 March 2020

Answer:
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon:

The Chinese Government’s announcement that they will prevent certain American journalists from working in China and Macao further restricts transparency at a particularly important time. The suggestion by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs that this measure may apply in Hong Kong is deeply concerning. The Sino-British Joint Declaration is clear. It sets out that immigration decisions are the sole responsibility of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, and freedom of the press is guaranteed. It is imperative that these rights and freedoms are fully respected.

The leadership in China and Hong Kong is in no doubt about the strength of UK concern over the current situation, and our commitment to seeing the rights and freedoms provided for in the Joint Declaration upheld. We remain in frequent contact with the Chinese and Hong Kong SAR Governments on this issue.

Date and time of answer: 06 Apr 2020 at 15:46.

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Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL2790):

Question:Lord Alton of Liverpool


To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of reports that the government of China has revoked the press credentials of journalists from the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post; and whether such revocation constitutes a breach of the 1984 Sino–British Joint Declaration. (HL2790)

Tabled on: 23 March 2020

Answer:
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon:

The Chinese Government’s announcement that they will prevent certain American journalists from working in China and Macao further restricts transparency at a particularly important time. The suggestion by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs that this measure may apply in Hong Kong is deeply concerning. The Sino-British Joint Declaration is clear. It sets out that immigration decisions are the sole responsibility of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, and freedom of the press is guaranteed. It is imperative that these rights and freedoms are fully respected.

The leadership in China and Hong Kong is in no doubt about the strength of UK concern over the current situation, and our commitment to seeing the rights and freedoms provided for in the Joint Declaration upheld. We remain in frequent contact with the Chinese and Hong Kong SAR Governments on this issue.

Date and time of answer: 06 Apr 2020 at 15:26.

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Baroness Williams of Trafford, the Home Office, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL2793):

Question:Lord Alton of Liverpool


To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 18 March (HL2309), what action they will take against any company that has published an annual statement as required under section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 but has been accused of profiting from Uyghur slave labour. (HL2793)

Tabled on: 23 March 2020

Answer:
Baroness Williams of Trafford:

Section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 made the UK the first country to require large businesses to report annually on steps taken to prevent modern slavery, including forced labour, in their operations and supply chains.

The Act does not require organisations to certify that their supply chains are slavery free but asks businesses to be transparent about their risks and measures taken to mitigate these. To improve reporting quality, we are developing a government-run registry of modern slavery statements to make it easier for consumers, investors and civil society to hold businesses to account. We have also consulted on proposals to strengthen the Modern Slavery Act and increase transparency and improve compliance.

The Government is aware of the risks of forced labour in Xinjiang impacting on supply chains of businesses with a footprint in the UK and is discussing this issue with businesses, as well as standard setting and industry bodies which bring together business and civil society organisations. The UK Government expressed its concerns about China’s systematic human rights violations in Xinjiang, including credible and growing reports of forced labour, during the recent UN Human Rights Council.

Date and time of answer: 06 Apr 2020 at 14:38.