From the NEW STATESMAN (famous London weekly) – … Hong Kongers are not only revolting against social inequalities, declining standards and the threat of becoming part of China’s authoritarian state. They are also rebelling against an entrenched political order left over by the British.
Hong Kong has never been truly democratic. Before the British handed the territory over to China in 1997 the city’s ruling governor was appointed by London and elections for the Executive Council – Hong Kong’s law-making body – did not take place until 1985. The negotiations between Britain and the People’s Republic of China over the sovereign and administrative arrangements of Hong Kong after 1997 – codified in the Sino-British Joint Declaration of 1984 – also took place without Hong Kong’s involvement.
… The most draconian laws used against the protestors, and the pro-democracy movement, are the same decrees thaberst the British government established and enforced when they ruled Hong Kong. The most severe is the Public Order Ordinance of 1967, which prohibits unlawful assemblies. Prominent members of the pro-democracy movement, especially the organizers of the 2014 Umbrella Revolution – a 79-day occupation of the territory’s financial district – as well as those who are part of the city-wide protests today, have been charged for unlawful assembly and rioting respectively under this old British law. The late Paddy Ashdown*, once a vocal advocate for human rights in Hong Kong, called the Public Order Ordinance “one of Britain’s worst legacies in Hong Kong” and highlighted that the United Nation had denounced it for “excessively curtailing freedom of expression….”
– Karen Cheung in the New Statesman (29 November – 5 December 2019)
- Jeremy John Durham Ashdown was a prominent British politician and diplomat who served as Leader of the Liberal Democrats from 1988 to 1999.