New crowdfunding campaign raising funds for UK ads to ‘defend’ Sino-British Joint Declaration

Margaret Thatcher (left) and Zhao Ziyang (right) sign the Sino-British Joint Declaration in 1984. Photo via Xinhua.
Margaret Thatcher (left) and Zhao Ziyang (right) sign the Sino-British Joint Declaration in 1984. Photo via Xinhua.

Following the runaway success of a crowdfunding drive late last month, anti-extradition activists are again calling for donations to buy space in major newspapers, this time for ads in UK publications accusing China of violating the Sino-British Joint Declaration.

In just 10 hours, the page on the crowdfunding site GoFundMe has already managed to raise some £211,000 (or about HK$2.07 million) towards a goal of £300,000.

Organizers say they hope the ads will elevate Hong Kong’s ongoing political crisis “to an international level,” and “press the British government and the public to look into how China had violated” the joint declaration, which formed the basis for Hong Kong’s return to China.

“The Sino-British Joint Declaration is an internationally binding treaty, which promises ‘50 years unchanged’ in the human rights, rule of law, and democracy in Hong Kong,” the crowdfunding page reads. “After the handover in 1997, the Chinese government has repeatedly disregarded the treaty, and the recent extradition bill shows China is continuing to narrow the autonomy of Hong Kong.”

The accusation that China has violated the joint declaration has gained increasing traction amid Hong Kong’s ongoing anti-extradition protests, which have evolved in recent weeks into a broader referendum on democratic reforms and Beijing’s creeping influence in the city’s purportedly autonomous affairs.

The page notes that the joint declaration doesn’t include any concrete consequences for breaking the agreement, though the UK reassured Hong Kong at the time that it had “the right to raise any breaches with China” and “would not hesitate to do so.”

“Hong Kong people make miracles again and again, no matter how small the chances are, should we not try and put the Sino-British Joint Declaration to an international negotiation?” the donations page asks.

The new crowdfunding campaign bears an obvious similarity to a wildly successful one late last month. In that campaign, activists managed to raise nearly HK$5.5 million (almost £560,000) in a single day, blowing past the campaign’s goal of HK$3 million.

The money went towards buying space in major international newspapers urging world leaders to raise the situation in Hong Kong at the G20 Summit in Osaka.

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