China‘s passing of a controversial new national security law for Hong Kong has sparked fury in the international community. The new legislation is the most radical change to the former British colony’s way of life since it was returned to China almost 23 years ago. Lord Christopher Patten, the last British governor of the territory, has issued warnings over the state’s “loutish” President, Xi Jinping when he spoke to a webinar hosted by the Institute of International and European Affairs in Dublin.
Lord Patten described the foreign leader as an “old-fashioned dictator”.
He also claimed that President Xi had taken advantage of the coronavirus crisis to take action on Hong Kong.
The former governor said: “He’s behaved pretty loutishly all around the region and around the world.
“Most of the people who run businesses have another passport in their back pocket and they perhaps should think a little more about those who work for them who don’t have the option of going elsewhere if it all goes wrong.”
China warning: Xi is a ‘lout around the world – we must stand together’
Lord Chris Patten
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has said the UK will decide what action to take with China.
Mr Raab warned that China’s passing of a the law is “a grave step”, and had violated the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration.
He claimed that China had ignored international obligations by taking new powers which could curb civil liberties.
The minister said: “Despite the urging of the international community, Beijing has chosen not to step back from imposing this legislation. China has ignored its international obligations regarding Hong Kong. This is a grave step, which is deeply troubling.”
U.S. President Donald Trump has made it harder to get a unified international response.
Lord Patten also claimed that US President Donald Trump has made it harder to get a unified international response to China’s actions in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong police fired tear gas and water cannon at thousands of protesters who had gathered for an annual rally to mark the anniversary of the former British colony’s handover to China in 1997, in defiance of new security legislation introduced on Tuesday by Beijing.
The 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration enshrined the territory’s high degree of autonomy ahead of the 1997 handover back to Beijing.
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Lord Patten said: “It’s very important that we stand up together.
“Not starting a new Cold War with China, but making absolutely clear we will call out China when it behaves badly.
“In some respects it’s made more difficult by the fact that the so-called leader of the West, the present American president, doesn’t seem to believe very much in alliances”.
Patten added that he suspected a new American administration under Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and Europe could work well together on China.
Trump and Biden will face off in the US presidential election on November 3.