Updated: Jul 26
This week's blog is authored by Megan Khoo, Communications Manager for the Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong Foundation.
On March 14th, The Financial Times reported that Hong Kong will make its first ministerial visit to Britain since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in April. While this may seem to be a post-Covid breakthrough, a visit from Christopher Hui to the UK has dire implications regarding the British government cosying up to the Hong Kong authorities who have been overtaken by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Among the “UK officials and business representatives” that Christopher Hui is scheduled to meet includes Innovate Finance, which is a financial technology trade association that plans to host Mr Hui for a “fireside chat” during its ‘IMPACT: FinTech Leading Through Change’ conference for Britain’s financial technology leaders. It is concerning that the British government’s Department for Business and Trade is a gold sponsor of this event, revealing “Prime minister Rishi Sunak’s quiet reset of UK-China economic relations”.
The chat cannot mean good news for Hong Kongers in Britain who have made tremendous sacrifices to call the UK home, particularly as Chinese state-owned financial institutions continue to freeze Hong Kongers’ assets. It also poses a threat to British citizens who may be financially undermined by the CCP, as Hong Kong is clearly not a safe place to invest financial technology assets.
In the background of Christopher Hui’s proposed visit, the Hong Kong authorities continue to detain British citizen Jimmy Lai, who has been in prison for 820 days. Although I welcome British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly’s mention of Jimmy Lai’s National Security Law case at a United Nations Human Rights Council meeting one month ago, Rishi Sunak has yet to respond to Parliament’s repeated call for him to acknowledge Jimmy Lai’s case and meet with Jimmy Lai’s son, Sebastien.
Public opinion strongly opposes Christopher Hui’s visit. Must the British government be continuously shamed before making the right decision, as was the case in Xinjiang Governor Erkin Tuniyaz’ cancelled visit to the UK? If Rishi Sunak, James Cleverly, and the British Secretary of State for Business and Trade, Kemi Badenoch, have care and concern for the more than 150,000 Hong Kongers who have fled to Britain to take refuge from the ruthless persecution of the Hong Kong authorities, they should immediately cancel Mr Hui’s official welcome.