London, March 30 : British judges were dramatically pulled from Hong Kong’s court of final appeal as ministers slammed the ‘systematic erosion of liberty and democracy’, Daily Mail reported.
UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said it was ‘no longer tenable’ for them to serve in the former UK territory due to the behaviour of the Beijing-backed regime.
The decision that a ‘tipping point’ had been reached was taken following discussions with Justice Secretary Dominic Raab and Supreme Court President Lord Reed.
A ‘national security law’ imposed by China two years ago banned views being expressed on independence and restricted the media from criticising the regime, with people facing extradition to the mainland.
It sparked huge protests on Hong Kong and condemnation from the international community, with the UK offering refuge to thousands, Daily Mail reported.
Lord Reed and deputy president Lord Hodge have both now quit as non-permanent judges at the Hong Kong court.
UK judges had continued to sit in the Court of Final Appeal since the territory was handed back to China in 1997.
Truss said: “We have seen a systematic erosion of liberty and democracy in Hong Kong. Since the national security law was imposed, authorities have cracked down on free speech, the free press and free association.”
“The situation has reached a tipping point where it is no longer tenable for British judges to sit on Hong Kong’s leading court, and would risk legitimising oppression”. (IANS)
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