China appeared to dramatically consign Britain’s responsibility to Hong Kong to history on Friday by saying a treaty signed by Margaret Thatcher which paved the way for the handover and guaranteed freedoms in the city had “no practical significance.”
The surprising remarks, which came on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the handover of the former British colony to China, relate to the 1984 joint declaration, which guarantees Hong Kong’s legal autonomy from the mainland.
The agreement established ‘one country, two systems’ for Hong Kong, giving the city freedoms and rights that are not enjoyed on the mainland for 50 years after the 1997 handover. …
But hours after Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, oversaw a defiant military parade during a visit to Hong Kong, an official in Beijing said that two decades after the city had returned to the “motherland’s embrace” the bilateral treaty had become redundant.
‘The Sino-British Joint Declaration, as a historical document, no longer has any practical significance,” foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said.
“It is not at all binding for the central government’s management over Hong Kong. The UK has no sovereignty, no power to rule and no power to supervise Hong Kong after the handover.”
It seems that China leaves a treaty when it pleases them. As Germany did … in the 1930s. And the West broke its word to the Russians not to expand NATO eastwards after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Why should Germany, China, and the US act differently about the Paris Treaty this time?