A senior Catholic Bishop has called on the UK government to do more in support of the citizens of Hong Kong and to meet its responsibilities set out under the Sino-British Joint Declaration.
Writing to Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, Bishop Declan Lang, who chairs the Catholic Bishops’ Conference Department of International Affairs, said:
“Like so many others in the Catholic community I am deeply concerned by the continuing erosion of autonomy, suppression of political freedoms, and violent response to peaceful protests taking place in breach of this treaty.
“The UK has a clear legal, moral and historical duty to safeguard fundamental freedoms in Hong Kong. Failure to do so at this critical time will not only have devastating consequences for more than seven million people living there but is also likely to have dangerous repercussions for human rights and international law more broadly.”
On Wednesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced plans to launch a new visa for citizens of Hong Kong, giving them a "route to citizenship" in the United Kingdom. The new immigration system will come into effect if and when China passes a series of planned security laws which will further restrict democratic freedoms in the territory.
Johnson said the new immigration provisions "would amount to one of the biggest changes in our visa system in British history."
He added: "If it proves necessary, the British government will take this step and take it willingly.
"Many people in Hong Kong fear their way of life, which China pledged to uphold, is under threat.
"If China proceeds to justify their fears, then Britain could not in good conscience shrug our shoulders and walk away; instead we will honour our obligations and provide an alternative."