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Denying UK delegation entry into HK justified
Date:2014-12-09 18:37 By:hhstrong Hit: HIT
The United Kingdom Parliament Foreign Affairs Select Committee is conducting a review of theimplementation of the Sino-British Joint Declaration on the issue of Hong Kong. The agreementwas signed by the British and Chinese governments on Dec 19, 1984. As part of the inquiry thecommittee decided to send a delegation to Hong Kong. This was to be headed by its chairmanRichard Ottaway, to "investigate" but the Chinese embassy in London informed the members ofthe planned delegation that if they attempted to travel to Hong Kong for their intended purpose,they would be refused entry.

This committee, as expected, made a big deal of China's snub, with Ottaway openly questioningwhether or not Beijing had the authority to determine who may be granted entry into HongKong. Prime Minister David Cameron's office also became involved, suggesting that theChinese government's decision risked attracting more concern over its handling of Hong Konggovernance.

As unsurprising as these reactions are, UK arguments are likely to deceive the unwittingobserver into thinking that the Chinese government does not have the authority to reject theUK lawmakers' visa applications to enter Hong Kong.
Detractors of the Chinese government in this case, particularly UK politicians and theirsupporters, seem to believe the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has overstepped its constitutionalauthority by becoming involved in the granting of British politicians' visas - ordinarily theresponsibility of the Hong Kong SAR Immigration Department.

However it is absolutely clear: According to the Basic Law of the Hong Kong SAR as well as thenation's Constitution, the HKSAR is directly under the jurisdiction of the central government,which handles all defense and foreign affairs related to Hong Kong.
As such the suggestion that the Foreign Ministry does not have the constitutional authority toreject UK politicians' applications for visas to enter Hong Kong may be right if a UK politician'sstay in Hong Kong is not in any official capacity - as members of the Foreign Affairs Committeeof the House of Commons - or any bilateral agreement between the two national governmentsconcerned.

It is common knowledge that what these British politicians intended to do in Hong Kong was partof their committee's ongoing inquiry into the implementation of the joint declaration in HongKong. Hence the Hong Kong trip is without question intended to carry out the official businessof the UK government. It is entirely concerned with a bilateral agreement and nothing else.Besides, have they forgotten the name of their committee? How can any of them question theauthority of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to grant or withhold visas to members of a delegationrepresenting the UK Parliament to enter the HKSAR over matters concerning a bilateralagreement?

Are they suggesting the proposed Hong Kong visit had nothing to do with foreign affairs from aBritish point of view? If the answer is yes, then who was it that actually overstepped theirconstitutional authority?

As soon as the aforementioned committee announced its inquiry into implementation of theSino-British Joint Declaration in September many Hong Kong people suspected the realintention was to boost the sagging morale of the illegal "Occupy Central" campaign - for goodreason I believe.
Such suspicions are to be expected after so many Western politicians and commentatorsvoiced their unequivocal support for the unlawful and abusive behavior of the "occupiers" inHong Kong, most notably Chris Patten, the last governor of Hong Kong and a member of theHouse of Lords. Patten is on a personal crusade against the Chinese government over the fateof a "color revolution" which can be traced back to the "democratic reforms" he hastily startedbefore the handover, in violation of the joint declaration.
Although Ottaway publicly declared that the trip to Hong Kong had nothing to do with "OccupyCentral", the "occupiers" would unquestionably see it as a gesture of "moral support". Theywould advertise it as such with great fanfare.

As for the "risk" of evoking more concerns over Beijing's handling of Hong Kong affairs byrefusing visa applications by the UK parliamentary select committee members, would it helpease such concerns if the Chinese government were to reverse its decision in this case? I don'tthink so.
After all, this is a matter for the Chinese government demonstrating its sovereign rule overHong Kong according to the nation's Constitution, which is the basis of Hong Kong's Basic Law.Unless one can prove that implementation of the Sino-British Joint Declaration is none ofBeijing's business, there are no grounds for a UK parliamentary committee to question theconstitutional authority of the Chinese government in denying its delegation entry to HongKong.
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