Letting China’s Vice President attend coronation ‘is a stick in the eye’
THE sight of China’s Vice President at the Coronation will be an insult to the people who have fled Hong Kong, its last governor said yesterday.
Lord Chris Patten said Beijing’s decision to send Han Zheng — blamed for a brutal crackdown on freedom in Hong Kong — shows it does not “give a toss” about the UK.
Foreign Secretary James Cleverly has faced fury for not blocking the visit of the Communist Party politician.
Lord Patten told the BBC: “You can’t ignore the fact he’s there, and it’s a stick in the eye for 140,000 or more HongKongers in exile here.”
“And also I think it’s an indication of the fact that, however much you grovel to China, however much you try to give them face, they don’t give a toss about giving us face because they could have sent lots of other people.
“There are, after all, 1.4 billion of them and they chose to send the guy who’s responsible for breaking their word about Hong Kong.”
Mr Han led Hong Kong affairs for Beijing between 2018 and March this year, during which time it imposed the national security law after mass protests in the city, stifling opposition and criminalising dissent.
The move strained relations with the UK and led to the creation of a visa scheme allowing Hongkongers to come to Britain.
The UK says China remains in breach of the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration, under which it has a duty to uphold Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy and rights and freedoms.
Hong Kong was handed from the UK to China in 1997 with a promise by Beijing to keep Western-style liberties.