HL Deb 06 June 1967 vol 283 cc270-2

2.48 p.m.


My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will make a Statement on the situation in Hong Kong.]


My Lords, since the full and detailed Statement made by my honourable friend the Minister of State last Thursday the position has been relatively quiet, apart from minor stoppages of work in utilities and Government Departments. The British authorities are now taking action to remove subversive posters. The House may remember that in my honourable friend's Statement last week she said that throughout the disturbances one person had been killed and 70 demonstrators injured. Following the claim made by the Peking National Daily that 200 people were killed or injured in one day alone, the Hong Kong Government Information Services issued a public challenge to anyone knowing of any deaths in the disturbances (other than the one I have already mentioned) to produce the names and other particulars of those killed. So far this challenge has not been taken up. One man who had been claimed by the pro-Communist Press to have been killed on May 22 appeared perfectly fit in court two days later.

This House will, I am sure, wish to be associated with the tributes which have been paid to the leadership shown by the Governor, Sir David Trench, during this difficult period; the restrained efficiency of the police, and the high morale of the Hong Kong Administration and the vast majority of the people of Hong Kong.


My Lords, may I thank the Minister for that reply? One of the reasons why I put down the Question was to draw attention to the tact, resource and restraint of those in authority in Hong Kong. It could not have been better. May I ask the Minister how he assesses the cause? Was it the strike; was it the incitement from Peking, or a bit of both?


My Lords, I should first of all like to thank my noble friend for his remarks in the first part of his supplementary question. So far as the second part of the supplementary question is concerned, initially I think there was a genuine grievance in one particular factory, and this was exploited by troublemakers of the local Communist organisation. So far as the wider question of Chinese intentions is concerned, while I would not go so far as to say that they are a riddle wrapped up in an enigma, I certainly think they are a matter for considerable conjecture.


My Lords, in view of the fact that, so far as I can recollect, it is many years since we had a debate on the affairs of Hong Kong, would it be possible for the noble Lord to activate the usual channels so that we can have a debate on the Motion on Hong Kong which has been down in my name for some months?


My Lords, I will certainly draw the attention of the usual channels to what the noble Lord has said.


My Lords, following the question put by the noble Lord, Lord Rhodes, in view of what has just been said about the outstandingly admirable achievements of the British Government in Hong Kong, which will be agreed by all who have been there recently, would it be possible, in advance of a debate, for the Government to put out something in the form of a White Paper which would bring everybody up to date with the remarkable achievements and effectiveness of the Government operating under great difficulty in Hong Kong?


My Lords, if the noble Lord is thinking of the economic achievements of Hong Kong, this is certainly a matter which can be borne in mind, and I will see that this is looked into.

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