UK politicians call black white by threatening sanctions on Carrie Lam: experts

By Wang Qi Source: Global Times Published: 2020/8/5 18:45:59

File photo Hong Kong

Experts blasted some British politicians for calling black white and wielding human rights to interfere in China's internal affairs, after a group of UK lawmakers urged their government to impose "Magnitsky-style" sanctions on Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam and the head of Hong Kong police over "excessive police violence" amid social unrest in 2019.

In a Tuesday report launched by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) Hong Kong, a group in the UK parliament composed of members from different parties, British politicians said that Hong Kong police violated the Sino-British Joint Declaration and international humanitarian law and principles by "intimidating and harassing aid workers and inflicting physical violence and arresting them."

The UK foreign ministry last month announced the imposition of "Magnitsky-style" sanctions on 49 individuals and organizations from four countries for human right abuses, while China and the US were not on the list. 

Chinese analysts said that if the UK decided to impose sanctions on Hong Kong officials who perform their duty lawfully, then some Americans connected to George Floyd's death are completely qualified to be on the list, while many observers are no longer surprised about the UK's double standards.

Tian Feilong, a legal expert on Hong Kong affairs at Beihang University in Beijing, told the Global Times on Wednesday that the UK is using the issue of human rights as a weapon to meddle in China's internal affairs and exercising long-arm jurisdiction.

The report from APPG is dishonest, as many so-called aid workers or medical staff were siding with rioters to prevent police from enforcing the law. Like some "journalists" who were shielding rioters, some "aid workers" should be regarded as rioters as well, said Tian, noting that anti-China forces in the British Parliament have been sabotaging relations between the two countries with sinister intentions.

On March 15, the Independent Police Complaints Council of Hong Kong released a report on the use of force by Hong Kong police during social unrest in 2019, concluding that officers generally acted within guidelines.

According to Tian, the "Magnitsky-style" sanctions are essentially a violation of international law, as it expands its jurisdiction to intervene in other countries. "Britain is not in a position to regulate the lawful conduct of officials other countries."

The Magnitsky Act is a bill that was passed and signed in the US in 2012, and was aimed at punishing Russian officials responsible for the death of Russian tax lawyer Sergei Magnitsky in prison in 2009. At least six countries have passed Magnitsky-style bills that feature long-reaching sanctions, including US allies like the UK, Canada and Australia. Anyone regarded as human rights offenders by the US or UK faces a visa ban and the freezing of assets in these countries.

At the end of July, Commissioner of Hong Kong Police Chris Tang Ping-keung viewed their law enforcement as "absolutely legitimate and reasonable," and said that any sanctions from any country based on political reasons have absolutely zero impact on him, noting that he doesn't fear them.

On August 1, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said in an interview with local media that she has no assets in either the UK or US and is not longing to go to these countries. She added that if sanctions are handed out to a regional leader for protecting her citizens from violence, they have to explain that clearly to the international community.

Posted in: SOCIETY

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