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Britain warns China: does not destroy Hong Kong jewel



LONDON (Reuters) – The United Kingdom warned Beijing on Tuesday to step back from the brink of an “authoritarian” national security law in Hong Kong that it said it risked destroying one of the jewels in Asia’s economy while destroying China’s reputation.

Last week, China’s parliament approved a decision to create laws for Hong Kong to limit sedition, isolation, terrorism and foreign involvement. Property security and intelligence agents may be stationed in the city for the first time.

“It is time for China to reconsider, there is a moment for China to step back from the brink and respect Hong Kong’s autonomy and respect China̵

7;s own international obligations,” British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab told parliament.

“The sad reality is that if China continues along this track, it will stifle what has long been the jewel in the economic crown,” Raab said when asked about the future of the Hong Kong dollar.

Hong Kong fell to sixth place from third place in the latest ranking of global financial centers, according to Z / Yen’s global financial center index, behind New York, London, Tokyo, Shanghai and Singapore. It was Asia’s premier hub in 2019.

Raab said that security legislation violates the “one country, two systems” principle enshrined in the Sino-British Joint Declaration in 1984 and also contravenes Article 23 of China’s own constitution.

However, Raab warned that he did not expect China to change course. “We think it’s unlikely that will happen,” he said.

If it continues, Raab said the UK will form an alliance between countries to resist China, whose $ 14 billion economy dwarfs every Western economy except the US which has a $ 21.4 trillion economy.

FILE PHOTO: Britain’s Foreign Minister Dominic Raab leaves Downing Street in London following the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), London, UK on May 11, 2020. REUTERS / Toby Melville / File Photo

Raab said the UK could not force China but would try to convince it to change course.

If China does not change course, British overseas passport holders in Hong Kong will be offered a path to British citizenship.

Asked if London would go any further, Raab said the offer was already generous: around 300,000 holders of BNO passports and another 3 million were justified.

Additional reporting by Kate Holton; Editing by Michael Holden and Stephen Addison

Our standards:Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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