Catholic peer leads coalition against Beijing's 'flagrant breach of Sino-British Joint Declaration'

Lord Patton

Lord Patton

In the last week, 705 parliamentarians and faith leaders from 36 countries, including 165 British signatories, have joined a cross-party international coalition to decry the 'unilateral introduction of national security legislation in Hong Kong', which was rubberstamped by the Chinese Communist Party today, and to call on sympathetic governments to unite together to respond against the 'flagrant breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration.' More than 500 names have added their support since the statement went live on Saturday evening.

Led by the former Governor of Hong Kong, Lord Patten, and the former UK Foreign Secretary, Sir Malcolm Rifkind, the coalition comprises of a depth of expertise and experience including former prime ministers, foreign secretaries, defence ministers, prominent legal and human rights experts, religious leaders, diplomats, Senators, and Members of Parliament.

Lord Patten of Barnes said: "The statement shows growing and widespread international outrage at the decision by the Chinese government to unilaterally impose national security legislation in Hong Kong. The breadth of support, which spans all political parties and four continents, reflects both the severity of the situation and ongoing unified international support for the principle of one-country, two-systems."

Notably there have been over 165 British signatories, over 80 European Parliament signatories, 102 Japanese signatories, 35 US signatories, 180 Ca- nadian signatories, 30 German signatories, and 26 Australian signatories.

Notable signatories to the statement include:

- Cardinal Charles Bo, Archbishop of Yangon, Myanmar and President of the Federation of Asian Bishops Conferences

- Lord Alton of Liverpool

- The Lord Bishop of Coventry

- Baroness Cox of Queensbury

- Rt Hon Lord Dubs

- Fr Timothy Radcliffe, former Master of the Dominican Order Worldwide

- Lord Ricketts, former Permanent Secretary at the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and former Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee.

- Iain Duncan Smith and Michael Howard, former leaders of the Conservative Party, as well as Liam Fox, Rory Stewart, Ruth Davidson and Damian Green.

- Lord Kinnock, former leader of the Labour party, as well as Lord Hain, Jack Straw, David Miliband and Lord Goldsmith.

- The entire Liberal Democrat contingent in the House of Commons and SNP Foreign Policy Spokesperson.

- three former UK foreign Secretaries

- the former Speakers of the House of Commons, John Bercow and Betty Boothroyd

- Tom Tugendhat MP

- Dr Ahmed Shaheed, former Foreign Minister of the Maldives and Chair, Universal Rights Group, Geneva.

- Samantha Power, former USA Ambassador to the United Nations.

- Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Eliot Engel and Adam Schiff from the United States Congress.

- Guy Verhofstadt, the former Belgian Prime Minister.

This international coalition brought together to stand in solidarity with Hong Kong spans from North America, the UK, and Europe to South Asia and Australia. It includes policymakers from across the political and religious divide. As concerns for the future of Hong Kong cut across political ideology, religious belief, and geographic boundaries.

Commenting on the growing list of signatories joining the international statement, Hong Kong Watch's co-founder and Chair, Benedict Rogers said: "The prominence and sheer number of signatories this statement has so far received from across the political, religious, and geographic divide sends a clear signal that the death of democracy in Hong Kong is of concern to the world.

We will not allow the Chinese Communist Party to dismantle One Country, Two Systems overnight and turn Hong Kong from an open and international city into yet another Chinese region under strict authoritarian dictate, where free expression is banned, and any form of dissent is punished."

Joint Statement from 705 Signatories

We, the co-signed, write to express grave concerns about the unilateral introduction of national security legislation by Beijing in Hong Kong.

This is a comprehensive assault on the city's autonomy, rule of law, and fundamental freedoms. The integrity of one-country, two-systems hangs by a thread.

It is the genuine grievances of ordinary Hong Kongers that are driving protests. Draconian laws will only escalate the situation further, jeopardising Hong Kong's future as an open Chinese international city.

If the international community cannot trust Beijing to keep its word when it comes to Hong Kong, people will be reluctant to take its word on other matters. Sympathetic governments must unite to say that this flagrant breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration cannot be tolerated.

Full updated list of signatories can be found at Hong Kong Watch's website:

Tags: Hong Kong, China, Chris Patten, Lord Patten

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