Sir Iain Duncan Smith MP speaks in the debate following the Government’s statement on the sentencing of the Hong Kong pro-democracy activists Joshua Wong, Agnes Chow and Ivan Lam.
I congratulate the right hon.—or, rather, the hon.—Member for Stirling (Alyn Smith) on bringing forward this question. [Interruption.] Who knows? I shall certainly, on the basis of this, be promoting him. I agree with pretty much everything he said about the Magnitsky sanctions, and the bad behaviour regarding these trumped-up charges, which are based on an old colonial piece of legislation that should have been done away with years ago, and that has been condemned by the UN.
I draw the Minister’s attention back to HSBC, which the hon. Gentleman touched on. I had the privilege of listening to one of the legislators from the Democratic party of Hong Kong who has fled Hong Kong, Ted Hui. He made it very clear that he came to the UK, having gone to Denmark first, because he was worried about the charges that would be levelled against him. In the meantime, HSBC and two other banks, obviously prompted by the Hong Kong Government and China, have frozen his accounts for no reason whatsoever. I ask my hon. Friend the Minister and the Government to condemn this action. This is not a bank started in China and based in China that has nothing to do with the UK; it is a bank that benefits from its location here in London, and that is highly thought of in the trading community. It has behaved in a disreputable and appalling way in freezing the accounts of an individual fleeing for justice. Surely this is an outrage that the Government can now say should stop.
I thank my right hon. Friend for his continued commitment to this issue. He speaks very powerfully, obviously, but as I have just set out, and as the Foreign Secretary has made clear, businesses, including HSBC in Hong Kong, will make their own judgment calls. People will also make up their mind about those judgment calls. We have made an historic commitment to the people of Hong Kong to protect their autonomy and freedom, and, more importantly, so has China. To reiterate the point, we will hold China to its responsibilities.