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Tuesday, December 9, 2014, 08:52

Lawyers complain to UN over proposed visit by UK lawmakers

By Luis Liu in Hong Kong

A group of lawyers issued a written complaint to the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday, requesting an investigation into the United Kingdom’s infringement of the UN Charter for its intervention into Hong Kong affairs, and thus the domestic affairs of China. 

The request came after China rejected British parliament’s Foreign Affairs Select Committee’s (FASC) proposal for a visit to Hong Kong to “study the status of democratic development and implementation of the Sino-British Joint Declaration”.

Lawrence Ma Yan-kwok, barrister-at-law and chairman of the China Australian Legal Exchange Foundation, which issued the complaint letter, said at a press conference that there is no legal power for British members of parliament to carry out an “official” study in Hong Kong.

“Under the joint declaration, there is no article supporting the British side to exercise authority in Hong Kong,” Ma said. 

The non-intervention principle, which inferred from Article 2 (7) of the UN Charter, prohibits any type of coercion by any state to another state. In 1986, the principle was applied by the International Court of Justice in a case in which the United States intervened in Nicaragua, supporting the opposition in Nicaragua to overthrow the country’s government.

Legislator Priscilla Leung Mei-fun questioned the UK group on why they were insisting on making the visit officially.

“If they really wanted to acquire detailed knowledge of the situation, they could do it by non-governmental exchanges,” Leung said. “But making an official visit to intervene in another county’s domestic affairs would not be accepted by any sovereign state in the world.”

In London, China’s Ambassador to the UK Liu Xiaoming also wrote to the Sunday Telegraph commenting that Hong Kong’s democratic development is China’s internal affair and the committee’s so-called Hong Kong inquiry is only “interference in those affairs”.

“The frequently invoked Sino-British Joint Declaration does not mention a word about universal suffrage,” he reminded the readers, “hence the UK government’s reiteration that universal suffrage in Hong Kong is a matter for China’s central government, the SAR government and the public of Hong Kong to decide.”

British lawmakers had been told that they would be refused entry into Hong Kong. Liu maintained this was to safeguard the national sovereignty and security of China, and not as an insult to the committee.

With the illegal occupations still going on in Hong Kong, jeopardizing law and order, he also worried that the planned visit might “feed the arrogance of the illegal activists by giving them the illusion of external support”.

Kahon Chan contributed to this story

luisliu@chinadailyhk.com

 

 
 
 
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