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Why are we sitting back and watching Hong Kong turn into China?

For now, the bankers and executives think they are immune. But the Communist Party will come for them in time, writes Michael Sheridan

Wednesday 31 May 2023 11:42 BST
The Independent backs calls for jailed media tycoon Jimmy Lai to be released
The Independent backs calls for jailed media tycoon Jimmy Lai to be released (AP)

Day by day, freedom is vanishing in Hong Kong. Its renowned media tycoon, Jimmy Lai, a UK citizen, faces life in jail. Reporters Without Borders ranks Hong Kong 140th in the world for liberty of the press. Many of its best and brightest join the brain drain to this country. Yet Britain is all but mute. Why?

For once, one can hardly blame the staff at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. Their latest report on Hong Kong is a model of diligence. It lists absurd court cases, vindictive prosecutions, petty harassment, a general perversion of the rule of law. Democracy is quenched, democrats jailed. In short, Hong Kong is turning into China.

The diplomats churn out these documents because Britain has a duty to its former colony under the Joint Declaration of 1984 by which Margaret Thatcher agreed to hand back Hong Kong and the Chinese regime agreed to respect its way of life for fifty years after 1997.

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