onsdag 3. juli 2019

Hong Kong crisis could not have come at a worse time for the UK

The foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, will be cursing his timing about Hong Kong. Faced with growing criticism from human rights groups over the UK’s muted response to the treatment of protesters in its former colony, he decided last Tuesday to take two decisive steps: to call for an independent inquiry into the police handling of demonstrations on 12 June and to suspend export licences for crowd control equipment that could be used in future against protesters.

A statement promising unwavering commitment was also issued by the Foreign Office on the eve of demonstrations held on Monday to coincide with the 22nd anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover to China.

As protesters entered and vandalised the Legislative Council chamber, Hunt did not abandon the wider cause. Speaking on Sky on Monday night, he said: “My heart goes out to those worried they’ll lose their precious way of life. I don’t support violence in any circumstances but I understand their worries about changes happening in Hong Kong.