§ 21. Mr. Rankin
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he expects to reach a conclusion on the matter of appointing an Ombudsman for Hong Kong.
§ Mr. Foley
The recently devised City District Officer team, which is working most satisfactorily, is providing the general public in Hong Kong with an opportunity of making known to the authorities their views on the conduct of public affairs. Other arrangements also exist. Consideration is, however, being given in the Colony to the question of how complaints that may exist among the public may be more carefully and fully examined.
§ Mr. Rankin
I thank my hon. Friend for that Answer. Would he not go the whole hog and agree that if an Ombudsman can find a useful function in Britain he could find a more useful function to perform in a part of the Commonwealth where there is no democracy whatsoever?
§ Mr. Goodhew
Is my hon. Friend aware that the Government in Hong Kong do a very good job, despite the number of Communists who can infiltrate that area from Communist China? Is he not also aware that the vast majority of the Hong Kong Chinese support the Government wholeheartedly?
§ Mr. Richard
Is my hon. Friend not aware that it is wrong to equate the City 1226 District Officers scheme and an Ombudsman? The main difference is that an Ombudsman has certain, executive functions and can recommend certain courses of action. Whereas the City District Officers scheme—desirable and welcome though it is—is no more than an opportunity for people to complain to the Government?
§ 22. Mr. Rankin
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many persons are now detained in Hong Kong under emergency provisions; and for what reason.
§ Mr. Rankin
None? Would my hon. Friend make some inquiry into the authenticity of that Answer? Is he aware that the number which I am given is not "none" but thousands? Would he look into that matter?
§ Mr. Driberg
When my hon. Friend uses the words "detained" and "detention", is he referring only to persons detained without trial? Is there not still in prison a large number of persons who were tried on charges arising out of the emergency?