Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Hong Kong's Democratic Future (Report of the Canadian Foreign Affairs Standing Committee)

From March to May 2015, Canada's House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development conducted a study of the political situation in Hong Kong.  The Committee held three meetings and took evidence from academics, representatives from NGOs, student leaders, and leaders of Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement. The Committee's 29-page report entitled "Hong Kong's Democratic Future" was recently published.  The Committee concluded that "Canada has both an interest and a role in ensuring that the spirit of democracy is respected in Hong Kong, a city with which Canada shares important history, economic ties and personal connections."  It emphasized "that there should be no gap between the rhetoric and the substance of universal suffrage".  In ended the report with three recommendations directed at the Government of Canada. Recommendation 1: The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada state its support for the democratic aspirations of Hong Kong people, including the need for genuine universal suffrage in the election of their political leaders. Recommendation 2: The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada reiterate its support for the ‘one country, two systems’ principle, and for the 1984 Joint Declaration of the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Government of the People’s Republic of China on the Question of Hong Kong. Recommendation 3: The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada encourage dialogue that can lead to governance reforms in Hong Kong that are broadly accepted by all concerned.  Professor Simon Young testified before the Committee and his views were taken into account in the Committee's report.

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