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MPs: Britain should have done more over Hong Kong

Mass demonstrations took place as Hong Kong residents demanded free elections in 2017. Credit: Reuters

The British government should have done more to support Hong Kong's efforts for democracy, MPs have said in a highly critical report.

The Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committe rebuked ministers for their "mild" response to China's decision to block a fact-finding mission to the former British colony.

The committee added it was "profoundly disappointed that the Foreign Office did not summon the Chinese ambassador after the move.

China said the planned visit - due to take place amid mass pro-democracy protests - would have been an unwanted intrusion on internal affairs.

Sir Richard Ottaway, chair of the committee, said the move was part of a "troubling pattern" during which Hong Kong's moves toward free elections - promised in the Sino-British declaration of 1984 - appeared to be undermined by Beijing.

"We are concerned that the FCO's lack of clarity in expressing its views on political and constitutional developments in Hong Kong may be damaging the UK's reputation there," he said.


Hong Kong police start removing barricades after two month protest

Hong Kong authorities have started to clear the main pro-democracy protest site that has choked the Chinese-controlled city for more than two months, moving to stamp out street demonstrations that have demanded free elections.

Hundreds of police swept into the Admiralty site next to government offices and the main Central business district early on Thursday to enforce an injunction to clear barricades erected by protesters.

Student groups have occupied some of the Asia financial centre's most important arteries since late September, creating havoc for commuters and frustrating residents through a largely peaceful demonstration dubbed the "Umbrella Movement".

Hong Kong police received the green light to clear the sites on Tuesday after a bus company was granted an injunction by the city's High Court against street blockades at the site in Admiralty.

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