Hundreds have gathered outside the British Consulate-General in Admiralty calling on Downing Street to publicly acknowledge that China has violated the Sino-British Joint Declaration and to take action in support of Hong Kong’s democracy movement.

At around noon on Sunday, crowds outside the consulate building began to belt out the British national anthem God Save the Queen, while holding both Union Jack and colonial Hong Kong flags aloft.

Attendees also unfurled a large banner featuring a speech from former UK prime minister Winston Churchill: “[We] will ride out the storm of war and outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary, for years, if necessary, alone.”

Photo: Jennifer Creery/HKFP.

The group also chanted: “One Country Two Systems is dead.”

In a petition letter addressed to Andrew Heyn, British Consul General to Hong Kong and Macao, the group said: “On 27 August 2019, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China officially declared that no country or organization can interfere with Hong Kong affairs making use of the Declaration. Clearly, [the] Chinese government has permanently denied and terminated the Sino-British Joint Declaration single-sidedly.”

Photo: Jennifer Creery/HKFP.

The group urged London to publicly announce that the Sino-British Joint Declaration, which gave rise to the city’s handover to China, is now “null and void.” They called upon the UK to take action to ensure the safety of British nationals residing in Hong Kong as anti-government protests entered their 15th week.

Photo: Jennifer Creery/HKFP.

A British Consulate General representative received the petition letter from the group.

Dawn Law, a spokesperson at the rally, said there was no single group organising the event but those involved plan to hold a similar rally in London soon.

“We hope that the British government will take immediate actions to acknowledge the fact that the system isn’t working,” she said.

Photo: Jennifer Creery/HKFP.

Nicholas Wong, a 24-year-old teacher, told HKFP that he wants equal rights for both British Nationals and British Nationals Overseas (BNO), which he holds, and for Downing Street to uphold their end of the Sino-British Joint Declaration.

Protesters holding the British flags outside the British Consulate-General building. Photo: Jennifer Creery/HKFP.

“I know that what we’re doing right now is not really on the agenda of the British government, they’ve got bigger fish to fry. But we also have the right to voice out our opinions and this is very important for the credibility of the British government,” he said.

Nicholas Wong. Photo: Jennifer Creery/HKFP.

Wong added that the UK government has been ambiguous in their condemnation of Beijing: “The problem is even if they made calls to stop the violation of the agreement but they don’t take any actions,” he said.

See more: Thousands of Hongkongers urge US to pass bill defending human rights, amid more MTR vandalism and tear gas

Similar rallies petitioning foreign governments to take action in support of Hong Kong’s fight for democracy and human rights protections have taken place previously. Last Sunday, tens of thousands marched to the US Consulate-General to urge Washington to pass the Hong Kong Human Rights Act, a bill that would punish those it deems responsible for suppressing freedoms in the city.

Last Sunday’s march to the US Consulate-General. File Photo:

China’s foreign ministry has repeatedly warned other countries, including the UK and the US, to “stop interfering in Hong Kong’s affairs” and to “immediately make a clean break with various anti-China rioters.”

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Hong Kong Free Press

Hong Kong Free Press is a new, non-profit, English-language news source seeking to unite critical voices on local and national affairs. Free of charge and completely independent, HKFP arrives amid rising concerns over declining press freedom in Hong Kong and during an important time in the city’s constitutional development.