China says Sino-British Joint Declaration on Hong Kong no longer has meaning


China said on Friday the joint declaration with Britain over Hong Kong, which laid the blueprint over how the city would be ruled after its return to China in 1997, was a historical document that no longer had any practical significance.

In response, Britain said the declaration remained in force and was a legally valid treaty to which it was committed to upholding.

The stark announcement from the Chinese Foreign Ministry, that is sure to raise questions over Beijing’s commitment to Hong Kong’s core freedoms, came the same day Chinese President Xi Jinping said in Hong Kong the “one country, two systems” formula was recognized “by the whole world”.

It was not immediately clear if Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang was attacking just the idea of continued British involvement in Hong Kong, which marks the 20th anniversary of Chinese rule on Saturday, or the principles in the document.

The Sino-British Joint Declaration, signed in 1984 by then British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Chinese Premier Zhao Ziyang, laid out how Britain would end its century-and-a-half long rule over Hong Kong. It also guarantees the city’s rights and freedoms under the “two systems” formula.

Under Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, the Basic Law, Hong Kong was guaranteed its freedoms for “at least 50 years” after 1997.

Lu told reporters during a regular briefing on Friday that the document no longer binds China.

“Now Hong Kong has returned to the motherland’s embrace for 20 years, the Sino-British Joint Declaration, as a historical document, no longer has any practical significance, and it is not at all binding for the central government’s management over Hong Kong. The UK has no sovereignty, no power to rule and no power to supervise Hong Kong after the handover,” Lu said.

Britain said it had a legal responsibility to ensure China abided by its obligations under the declaration.

“The Sino-British Joint Declaration remains as valid today as it did when it was signed over 30 years ago,” a British Foreign Office spokeswoman said.

“It is a legally binding treaty, registered with the U.N. and continues to be in force. As a co-signatory, the UK government is committed to monitoring its implementation closely.”

On Thursday, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said Britain hoped that Hong Kong would make more progress toward democracy.

“Britain’s commitment to Hong Kong – enshrined in the Joint Declaration with China – is just as strong today as it was 20 years ago,” Johnson said. “I’ve no doubt that Hong Kong’s future success will depend on the rights and freedoms protected by that treaty.”

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard in Beijing and Michael Holden in London; Writing by Venus Wu; Editing by Nick Macfie and Alison Williams)

Source: Reuters “China says Sino-British Joint Declaration on Hong Kong no longer has meaning”

Note: This is Reuters’ report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.

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11 Comments on “China says Sino-British Joint Declaration on Hong Kong no longer has meaning”

  1. Fre Okin says:

    A recipe for more freedom in Hong Kong:

    The easiest short circuit way for Hong Kong people to shorten the burden of Basic Law abbreviating their democracy is to swear ‘One Nation Under God’ to PRC.

    In particular, every kid in Hong Kong should take a special lesson to weigh the pro and cons of full democracy. An educated customer is the best customer, so the saying goes.

    After that, they should swear allegiance to Beijing as provided by Basic Law and not engage in subversive activities. Be respectful of China. Once they understand Respect is everything in Beijing’s mindset, it will work wonders and China will be more inclined to turn a blind eye giving them more freedom, again provided they don’t allow themselves to become an agent of foreign government and NGO’s. Once China is satisfied they are Pure Hong Kong people, unadulterated by foreign mind pollution, they will get more freedom. I guarantee you that!

    For historical reference, China never impose herself on vassal states at the height of her power. As long as the tributary states learn to respect China, all will be fine. Same way Hong Kong natives should know how to respect China even though it is just for show!

    Insulting China is an art. It should be done behind closed doors. As long as China ‘save face’, she will tolerate more HK freedom. Bone headed kids who swear under Oath deliberately insulting China is foolish and is the reason why China won’t allow unfettered freedom. For example many democratic countries don’t allow flag burning, spit on it, so HK people should not expect to have unlimited freedom. There is no such thing even in a democracy!

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  2. Fre Okin says:

    Further clarity on Basic Law democratic basis, just for HK people!

    Basic Law is actually democracy in action for HK people, Orderly Transition from British to China handover. Even though it is abbreviated democracy, it is better than fake democracies where the Constitution is trampled like Japan’s Article 9 peace clause.

    In HK’s case, legislations are all compliant with the HK Constitution, so what is the problem? Give Panda China a big hug and you will be surprised how friendly she is! Check my WAPO comments or more.

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    • Assassin says:

      Some brainwashed corrupted morons are incapable of appreciating “What could had been”, had Beijing and London not negotiated on a deal for Hong Kong.

      Had London refused to deal, it would had been war and Hong Kongers would be the first causualties. The Washington funded “democracy movement” are probably too stupid to realise that and the fact that there is no sanctuary for them if they lose. Washington and London regards them as second class beings not suited nor fit to join the Anglo-Saxon society. How utterly prideless and indignified can you be. Moron is indeed, the only word to describe such fools.

      Fortunately, London was wiser although it has to make the obligatory noises for PR purposes to soothe their non democratic former Anglophile HK colonial subjects that Britain still cares for them. Washington unfortunately have other motives.

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  3. Fre Okin says:

    Something for Hong Kong people to understand China’s thinking:

    A very important reason why China do not allow HK to have maximum freedom now is because there is very serious danger of infiltration by CIA, pro democracy human rights forces via Hong Kong soil.

    Basic Law give China final say how much freedom for Hong Kong people. If Hong Kong people act like the eyes and ears for China, in effect no different from US for citizens to report suspicious activities, then China will give Hong Kong more freedom.

    China resent foreigners, governments or NGO’s telling them what to do but will most likely tolerate Hong Kong citizens with no affiliations to foreigners, no funding from them to promote democracy, human rights inside China.

    In other words they should promote free speech in China On Their Own and Beijing will tolerate them more than those inside China as Hong Kong people are treated as special citizens.

    Be patient. Wait 30 more years for Basic Law to expire. By then China will be just as democratized as Hong Kong.

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  4. Simon says:

    The “One Country Two System” formula was a unilateral gifts from China to HK under Deng Xiaoping. It can be withdrawn at any time should social instability descends on HK that threatens ntional security. It is not a precondition or joint declaration in requirement under which HK return to China. This was made perfectly clear in 1984 right up to the handover in 1997. Britain deliberately misinterprete this as some kind of face saving agreement which the British wanted from China before it can handover HK which is completely false. The only condition in which Briatain has to abide to returning HK to China is the one they signed with the Qing Dynasty in the aftermath of the Opium War.

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    • steve says:

      US & UK made up fake laws for self benefit prior to the invasion of Iraq, Libya, Syria, etc on the pretext of WMD, Terrorism and democracy. They are scoundrels. China should sooner than later discard the Sino British Joint declaration that is supposedly last for 50 years. China should eventually pass it’s new law and throw away the declaration nonsense. This 50 year declaration is like a prison term. The British were running amok in Hong Kong abusing their own democratic laws for self benefit.

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  5. steve says:

    Did China buy any Hong kong land holdings from Britain under any covenants.?

    Hong Kong is an inherent province of China and has being returned to the motherland after 99 years of colonial rule. China should now set it’s own rule of law under the One country two systems since it’s reunification 20 years ago and sooner than later phase out the Sino-British Joint Treaty that is supposedly last for 50 years of nonsense. Hong Kong citizens don’t pay income tax to the British crown.

    The young Hong Kongers don’t realise they have far more freedom under Chinese rule than their great great grandfathers ever had under the British dictatorship. The umbrella movement brought Hong Kong to a standstill disrupting freedom of business, transport and creating civil unrest. With the current US and UK prohibition law, they would have been be shot under the terrorist act, having demonstrating for weeks disrupting the rule of law.

    Without fear, China will maintain it’s Autocratic governance over Hong Kong and kick out the nonsense UK freedom of democracy. Democracy was never relevant for the true provincial owners, except for the British Scoundrels running amok in Hong Kong.

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  6. Fre Okin says:

    HK anti China folks should be lectured to Read what Basic Law says:

    “Basic Law says China have final say over their destiny.
    “The basic principles on interpreting the Basic Law is set out in Article 158. According to Article 158(1), the power of final interpretation of the Basic Law is vested in the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPCSC)”

    So HK, UK should just read plain English and accept reality China have the Last Word over HK destiny. UK should just Fade Away or maybe somebody should Teach UK how to Read English?

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    • Fre Okin says:

      As I said elsewhere, China is Very Very Bad in Explaining the Facts to Western public and other Asians. If the Chinese government don’t Communicate the Facts clearly, she will never have a good image with other countries. Ordinary people can be swayed when they see the facts Clearly explained to them. The Western governments, Japan, India can keep lying but people are not stupid and if the Chinese government explain Clear Enough and Repeatedly, she will have a much better image and people will sympathize with China more.

      People have very short attention span, so the Chinese government Must explain Repeatedly in Short Paragraphs the most important points, excerpts to get the point across. Repeating HK belongs to China blah blah blah is Useless as people Need to Understand the Legal Reasoning behind China’s claim.

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      • Anon says:

        You have been on tne internet long enough. Perhaps you should try setting up a website again. I am sure many pro-China readers will support you. The more the better.

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  7. johnleecan says:

    During British occupation of Hong Kong, there was no democracy for Hong Kong people. Democracy was only for British people. Hong Kong people can’t even vote. They can’t criticize the British rule and they are not allowed to hold high positions in government. The British always has the final say.

    The only ones who are raising questions are the British and most probably their evil allies. The British autocratic rule over Hong Kong in the past was because of the British elite and their cohorts in hiding their hidden wealth and money laundering from the British public.

    The history of British wanton thievery and reckless and murderous killings of innocent people is well documented and the Americans took over when British rule declined. Now, the Americans are the biggest thieves and murdererers in human history.

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