Stuart Lau

Stuart Lau

Stuart is a contributor to Inkstone. He is Europe Correspondent for the South China Morning Post.

Britain moves to halt extradition to Hong Kong over national security law
Britain was on Monday poised to announce plans to suspend or revoke its extradition treaty with Hong Kong in response to mainland China imposing a controversial national security law on the former British colony. The plans looked set to further sour Britain’s diplomatic relations with Beijing, as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo began his London visit to hammer out a British-American strategy on China with Prime Minister Boris Johnson. British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab was expected to make an announcement on the Hong Kong treaty when he addressed his country’s parliament on Monday. It followed weeks of lobbying from lawmakers to suspend a legal instrument they fear could be used by Hon
Britain decided to ban Huawei after all
Huawei Technologies will be banned from the UK's 5G network, the British government announced on Tuesday in a major policy reversal. The decision follows escalating tension with Beijing and pressure from Washington and could add to the pressure on other European countries to review their approach to the Chinese telecoms giant. By tearing up his earlier decision to allow Huawei partial access to Britain’s 5G networks, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ignored threats from Chinese officials that there will be “consequences” if the UK treats China as a “hostile partner.” The decision marks the end of a long debate in Britain's government about the Chinese firm, with critics, including members o
EU ‘won’t side with US against China’ as ministers meet Mike Pompeo
The European Union’s foreign policy chief has ruled out a transatlantic alliance against China and dismissed “systematic rivalry” with Beijing, just hours before he was due to talk to his US counterpart. Josep Borrell called for a “big, positive agenda for EU-China cooperation” on Sunday, just a day before he and the 27 foreign ministers from the bloc were expected to have a videoconference with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Although the EU and the US share similar concerns about China’s state-controlled economy, the bloc has rejected calls to follow Washington’s path more closely. “US-China relations are set on a path of global competition, regardless of who will be in the White House
EU parliament considers suing China over Hong Kong
European Parliament members are planning to propose suing China in the United Nations’ highest court over Beijing’s move to impose national security laws in Hong Kong, according to an internal draft seen by the South China Morning Post. The potential suit would claim that “China’s decision to impose national security legislation on Hong Kong violates the Sino-British Joint Declaration,” according to the draft document.  The Sino-British Joint Declaration was signed in 1984 and paved the way for the former British colony’s return to Chinese sovereignty in 1997. The potential lawsuit would also accuse China of violating the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which requires
Boris Johnson vows visa overhaul to accommodate 3 million Hongkongers
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised Hongkongers “one of the biggest changes in our visa system in British history” if Beijing pushes through the national security law.  In an op-ed published in the South China Morning Post and The Times of London on Wednesday, Johnson acknowledged that “many people in Hong Kong fear their way of life … is under threat” since the National People’s Congress proposed the law last month. It was his first direct message to the former British colony amid the recent political furor. “If China proceeds to justify their fears, then Britain could not in good conscience shrug our shoulders and walk away; instead, we will honor our obligations and provide
Britain may give residency to Hongkongers over national security law
Britain has said it will offer greater citizenship rights to some Hongkongers if China proceeds with its plan to impose a national security law on the city, marking a dramatic shift to London’s long-held policy. The change concerns holders of British National (Overseas) passports, which were offered to Hongkongers born before the former British colony’s 1997 handover to China. Under current rules, the 300,000 people with those so-called BN(O) passport holders can visit the UK for up to six months but cannot work or apply for citizenship. British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Thursday that Britain was ready to change this rule, prompting China to accuse Britain of going back on a pro
US blasts ‘spiteful’ decision to freeze Taiwan out of WHO
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has slammed the “spiteful” rejection of Taiwan’s bid to attend the World Health Organization’s annual meeting as an observer despite its success in tackling Covid-19. Beijing has insisted that Taiwan, a self-ruled island democracy that it claims as its own territory, be excluded from the World Health Assembly, the WHO’s decision-making body. It added that the previous inclusion of Taiwan should not count as a precedent, as the current Taiwanese government no longer recognized the one-China principle (under which both Taipei and Beijing agree there is only one China, but differ on how it is interpreted). “The United States condemns Taiwan’s exclusion from th
Only 6% of coronavirus infections are detected, German study says
A study suggests that the vast majority of people infected by the coronavirus remain undetected, raising the specter of fresh outbreaks if social distancing measures and travel restrictions are lifted too early. Researchers of the study, from the University of Gottingen in Germany, said only 6% of coronavirus infections had been detected across the 40 countries they analyzed. The researchers made the assessment after comparing estimates of coronavirus infection fatality rates in a previous study with the number of confirmed cases reported by the countries, including Italy, Spain, the United States and France. The researchers concluded that the only way to prevent a renewed outbreak of Covid-
Chinese-made coronavirus tests ditched in Spain over inaccuracy
Madrid, the capital city of Spain, has stopped using a rapid Covid-19 test kit made by a Chinese company after research suggested it was not accurate enough. Doubts over the kits’ reliability emerged as the number of confirmed cases in Spain rose sharply on Thursday to 57,786, with 4,365 deaths. Worldwide, the disease has now infected more than 540,000 people and killed over 24,000. The Spanish Society of Infectious Diseases and Clinical Microbiology (SEIMC), one of Spain’s leading research institutes, said on its website it had found that nose swabs developed by Shenzhen Bioeasy Biotechnology had an accuracy rate of less than 30%. Spanish newspaper El País reported that the Madrid city gov
Italy scrambles to treat Covid-19 patients as death toll surpasses China’s
The death toll in Italy from the Covid-19 pandemic reached a grim milestone on Thursday as its number of fatalities surpassed the official total in China. Italian authorities announced 427 new deaths, pushing the total to 3,405, exceeding the total of 3,250 fatalities recorded across mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. Dramatic footage has been circulating on social media, showing military vehicles taking corpses out of the Italian city of Bergamo because cremation facilities were overloaded. Italy has a population of 60 million, or less than 5% of mainland China’s 1.4 billion. But it also has the world’s second-oldest citizenry, after Japan. Some 30% of Italians were aged 60 or ab