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LIBG forum on situation in Hong Kong

February 17, 2020 6:30 PM - 9:00 PM
National Liberal Club, 1 Whitehall Place, London SW1A 2HE
The sovereignty of Hong Kong was transferred from the UK to China under the Sino-British Joint Declaration. Under the treaty, Hong Kong's liberal way of life, such as common law system and protection of civil liberty, will be protected by the "One Country, Two Systems" frame work, allowing Hong Kong to be run as a autonomous city, as China promised. In the meantime, Britain also has a legal and moral duty to ensure what China has been promising to Hong Kong remains unchanged. Yet, the past eight months of large swamp of anti government protests in Hong Kong is putting both Britain and China commitment to test.

Reports of serious erosion of civil liberty, political screening of candidates, increasing cases of human rights abuses by the police, and arbitrary arrests have become the new normal for Hong Kong. Restrained protests have become increasingly potent. Yet support is undeterred from all walks of life as seen from opinion polls and the latest demonstration of a million people, out of a population of 7 million, on New Years Day. The determination of the people of Hong Kong is a rebuttal to the continuous refusal from Beijing indicating China has little intention in keeping her promise for greater democracy in Hong Kong.

As the UK leaves the EU, the country may need to re-position her relationship with traditional allies and new partners on issues ranging from trade, security, and human rights. Hong Kong is at the forefront of a battle between the free world and an increasingly authoritarian state of China. What should Britain do as it seeks new trade deals? What may her moral obligations be and what hurdles may she face? In what ways can we work with our allies including the EU to rally behind the Hong Kong protesters?

We are delighted to have invited 2 speakers to share with us on Britain's Foreign engagement in views of the Hong Kong protests.

Emily Lau is a Hong Kong politician, a Legislator in the Legislative Council from 1991-1997 and 1998 to 2016 and Chairperson of the Hong Kong Democratic Party between 2012 and 2016. She is also member of the Council of Asian Democrats and Liberals Women Caucus. Active in politics since the 1980s, one of her most remembered interview as a reporter after returning to Hong Kong previously working for the BBC, she questioned Margaret Thatcher why she have agreed to delivering 5 million into the hands of the Chinese Communist Party with the Sino-British Joint Declaration 1984. Thatcher's response then is also very familiar today. To paraphrase with inspiration, it is 'my deal or no deal.' When she became a career politician, she won numerous direct elections in the crown colony by a landslide. She is well liked among her constituents as liberal and approachable by the mass. She is also a strong advocate in pushing Lord Patten (then Governor Patten) to expatiate electoral reforms that started gaining motion back in the MacLehose days. Further campaigns include meeting Douglas Hurd to lobby for UK Right of Abode for all British Nationals after TianAnMen. Lord Paddy Ashdown also helped in the campaign. Lau once mentioned her inspiration as an investigative journalist and politicians came from the Watergate Scandal. She was studying journalism in South California when it unfolded.

Professor Hughes teaches courses in the International Politics of the Asia-Pacific region and Chinese Foreign and Security Policy. He served as Head of the International Relations Department from 2013 to 2016, and was Director of the Asia Research Centre from 2002 to 2005. One work of interest will be 'National-building and curriculum reform in Hong Kong and Taiwan' (1999) where it was mentioned the uniqueness of identity of both Taiwan and Hong Kong and how China's nationalism and threats may have become a hidden agenda in respective countries' curriculum
All are welcome. Enquiries: generalenquiries@libg.co.uk
Venue: National Liberal Club, 1 Whitehall Place, London SW1A 2HE