In March 2020, the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Hong Kong began an inquiry into possible human rights abuses on humanitarian aid workers in Hong Kong. The APPG is a group of members of the UK Parliament who have a special interest in the region but it is not a formal committee of the UK Parliament. After the inquiry had started the new National Security Law was introduced but the report also considered the situation before the law was brought in and shows that the situation already getting worse. The introduction of the Law had what the report calls profound implications for “the rule
of law”,. Especially the relationship between the rule of law and the fundamental civil and political human rights of Hong Kong citizens which were meant to be protected by Sino-British Joint Declaration and international law. The politicisation of policing and the judiciary brings into question the independence of the court, the ability of citizens to enjoy due process and the replacement of the police being service which operates by consent with the police being a “force” which operates as an extension of the Communist Party. The law also clamps heavily down on freedom of speech and sets out to restrict the ability of Hong Kong citizens to speak to the outside world about what is happening. Despite these restrictions the APPG invited “invited individuals and organisations from Hong Kong” to provide eye witness accounts of the way in which humanitarian aid workers had been treated. These accounts show that the standards beings used that fell well short of international standards and expectations in international law. “The central focus of the inquiry was to determine whether the Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF), in their treatment of humanitarian aid workers, has violated international human rights law and the spirit of humanitarian law. In scrutinising this question, members of the inquiry were to pay particular regard to the actions of the HKPF in relation to 1) international humanitarian law and
principles, 2) international human rights law, and 3) the Sino-British Joint Declaration.” Read the Full Report here
The many different trade and aid policies being pursued by China globally have been heavily criticised but can developing countries become more independent or will China’s policy reform?