The UK government has said in its latest report to parliament that One Country, Two Systems generally continued to function well in Hong Kong, but important areas are “coming under increasing pressure.”

In the UK’s Six-Monthly Report on Hong Kong published on Thursday, which covers January 1 to June 30, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said the UK government cannot ignore that “important areas of the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ framework are coming under increasing pressure.”

Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson. FIle Photo: Flickr.

These include, the report later stated, “further reports of mainland security officials operating within the SAR; reports of [Central Government Liaison Office] increasing their influence in Hong Kong; and continuing concerns about the exercise of some of the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Joint Declaration and Basic Law.”

The British government called for a transition to universal suffrage, while reiterating that “independence is not a realistic option for Hong Kong” and that the notion undermines the concept of One Country, Two Systems.

Responding to the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ earlier comment that the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration is a “historical document and does not have any practical significance,” the UK government said it has “made clear” to the Chinese government “its consistent and ongoing commitment to the faithful implementation” of the Joint Declaration.

UK report
The UK’s Six-Monthly Report on Hong Kong.

“Since these discussions, a senior official from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has publicly clarified its position to some extent, explicitly recognising that the Joint Declaration remains an important document, registered with the United Nations, and commenting along the lines that it is not without binding effect,” it said.

The UK government concluded by saying that it is “essential” for Hong Kong to enjoy a high degree of autonomy and rule of law for its future success, as set out in the Joint Declaration and enshrined in the Basic Law. It urged for a “renewed dialogue on political reform” to “further support stability and prosperity in Hong Kong.”

‘Foreign governments should not interfere’

In response to the report, a Hong Kong government spokesperson said that “Since the return to the motherland, the HKSAR has been exercising a high degree of autonomy and ‘Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong’ in strict accordance with the Basic Law.”

“This demonstrates the full and successful implementation of the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ principle, which has been widely recognised by the international community.”

“Foreign governments should not interfere in any form in the internal affairs of the HKSAR,” the spokesperson added.

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.