Sick and tired of China’s shadiness regarding the mysterious case of British passport-holder and missing Hong Kong bookseller Lee Bo, the UK is finally airing how they really feel on the matter, pronouncing that Lee and his associates were probably taken to the mainland against their will.
In a report to parliament, British Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond offered a rundown of the missing persons situation and China’s refusal to give any substantial information. And he didn’t beat around the bush:
Our current information indicates that Mr Lee was involuntarily removed to the mainland without any due process under Hong Kong SAR law.
This constitutes a serious breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration on Hong Kong and undermines the principle of “One Country, Two Systems” which assures Hong Kong residents of the protection of the Hong Kong legal system.
The unexplained disappearance of five individuals associated with a Hong Kong bookstore and publishing house has raised questions in Hong Kong.
We urge the authorities in Hong Kong and Beijing to take the necessary steps to maintain confidence in the system and the sanctity of the rights, freedoms and values it upholds.
As it stands, China has refused to budge on giving Britain access to Lee, who is apparently also snubbing Hong Kong authorities for reasons unknown, and the stench of a diplomatic crisis is in the air with the US also requesting information earlier this month.
At any rate, it bodes ill for Hong Kong, currently home to 3.7 million British passport-holders.
No comment has emerged from China’s Foreign Ministry.