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Ex-governor urges British PM to speak out on HK 'threats'

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AFP London
British Prime Minister Theresa May should address concerns about the political situation in Hong Kong during her visit to China this week, the last British governor of the territory said today.

In a letter to May's Downing Street office, Chris Patten said Hong Kong was facing "increasing threats to the basic freedoms, human rights and autonomy" that its people were promised at the 1997 handover to China.

The letter by Patten and Liberal Democrat lawmaker Paddy Ashdown urged May to "go on insisting on the continued validity of the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the principles of 'one country, two systems'".

"We hope... that you will be able to provide the people of Hong Kong with some assurance that our developing relationship with China, vital though it is, will not come at the cost of our obligations to them," it said.

Patten has repeatedly spoken out about the importance of protecting its democratic freedoms.

Since 1997, Hong Kong has been ruled under a semi- autonomous "one country, two systems" deal which allows rights unseen on the mainland, but Beijing is increasingly tightening its grip.

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First Published: Jan 29 2018 | 9:15 PM IST

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