On 22nd February 2022, Lord Alton of Liverpool asked a question on human rights and political prisoners in Hong Kong, on behalf of the Bishop of St Albans:
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the Government of Hong Kong about the (1) human rights, and (2) release, of pro- democracy political prisoners remanded in custody under that Government’s national security law.
Lord Alton of Liverpool (CB): My Lords, on behalf of the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of St Albans, and with his permission, I beg leave to ask the Question standing in his name on the Order Paper. In so doing, I declare my interests both as a patron of Hong Kong Watch and as vice-chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hong Kong.
The Earl of Courtown (Con): My Lords, the mainland Chinese and Hong Kong authorities have used the national security law to target pro-democracy figures, curtail freedoms and shrink the space for opposition, a free press and civil society. The UK continues to raise its concerns directly with Hong Kong and Chinese authorities. We continue to urge Beijing to uphold its international obligations, including the rights and freedoms protected in the joint declaration.
Lord Alton of Liverpool: In thanking the noble Lord, I will put to him a question put to me by a courageous Hong Kong activist, Chung Ching Kwong, about young pro-democracy activists most at risk of arrest. Can we be told, she asked, when the Home Office will introduce the promised and welcome new regulations to include within the BNO scheme young people with a parent who is a BNO passport holder and born after 1997? What are we doing to work with other Commonwealth countries to provide an international lifeboat for young Hong Kongers who do not qualify for the BNO, and what estimate have the Government made of their number?
The Earl of Courtown: I thank the noble Lord, Lord Alton of Liverpool, for his question. We are sympathetic to the circumstances of children of BNO parents born on or after 1 July 1997 and are considering what more can be done to support this cohort where they wish to build a permanent life in the United Kingdom. We will continue to bring together our international partners to stand up for the people of Hong Kong, to call out the violation of their freedoms and to hold China to its international obligations.
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