London [UK], March 13 (ANI): The United Kingdom on Saturday said it considers China to be in a "state of ongoing non-compliance" with the Sino-British joint declaration after Beijing approved sweeping changes for tighter control over Hong Kong.
In a statement, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab condemned the Chinese decision to impose "radical changes to restrict participation in Hong Kong's electoral system"
China on Thursday voted to pass legislation on Hong Kong's electoral system. The legislation was passed with only one abstention and 2,895 delegates voting in favour. The Congress regularly unanimously or overwhelmingly rubber stamps plans proposed by the party.
The plan will allow the ruling Communist Party to appoint more of Hong Kong's lawmakers, reducing the share elected by the public.
Raab alleged that it is part of a pattern designed by China to "harass and stifle all voices critical of China's policies" and is the third breach of the Joint Declaration in less than nine months.
"The Chinese authorities' continued action means I must now report that the UK considers Beijing to be in a state of ongoing non-compliance with the Joint Declaration - a demonstration of the growing gulf between Beijing's promises and its actions," he said.
"The UK will continue to stand up for the people of Hong Kong. China must act in accordance with its legal obligations and respect fundamental rights and freedoms in Hong Kong," it added.
The Sino-British Joint Declaration is a treaty signed between the United Kingdom and China in 1985 on Hong Kong under Chinese sovereignty.
The two governments agreed China would reassume control of Hong Kong, which was occupied by Britain after the Opium War in 1840, from July 1, 1997.
It states that China's basic policies regarding Hong Kong "will remain unchanged for 50 years" and includes the promise that the city would retain a high degree of autonomy. (ANI)