Philip Hammond, the British foreign secretary, warned over threats to Hong Kong’s autonomy on Friday as he visited the city where fears are growing that Beijing’s grip is tightening. It was the first visit by a British foreign secretary for five years and comes in the wake of the high-profile case of a group of booksellers who went missing from Hong Kong and surfaced in China. One of them was a British citizen. The city has been semi-autonomous since it was handed back to China by Britain in 1997 under an agreement that protects its freedoms for 50 years. However, there are concerns those freedoms are disappearing. “Although the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ model is generally working well in Hong Kong, concerns have been raised over the recent booksellers’ case,” Hammond said in a statement on Friday. “Rule of law is the cornerstone of an open and fair society. Hong Kong’s success is underpinned by its independent judiciary and respect for rights and freedoms,” he added. In a meeting with Hong Kong’s leader Leung Chun-ying, the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said that Hammond would restate “support for Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy, rights and freedoms”, as well… Read full this story
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