Can the skirted information by the UK government serve “public interest” and protect “national security’?
on 15 January 2016, I sent freedom of information requests on City of London Police, Metropolitan Police and Home Office, regarding the polcing policy during Xi Jinping's UK visit. Below are my FOI questions.
1. Any communications between the UK and China concerning the policing of protest in the UK, during and related to the October 2015 visit of the Chinese president.
2. Any published or unpublished response by UK authorities to the comments of the Chinese ambassador to the UK Liu Xiaoming, speaking ahead of the Chinese President’s visit of a “golden era” in the relationship between China and the UK, but warning that President Xi would be “offended” were the issue of China’s record on human rights to come to the fore during his visit.
3. Any policy or guidance devised and/ or implemented in relation to the policing of demonstrations in the UK, during and related to the October 2015 visit of the Chinese president. This should include any arrangements classified as ‘security’ that might impact upon the right to demonstrate, for instance restricting any individual or groups of individuals from being visible or audible to the president; or relating to the arrest of those who might demonstrate or be expected to demonstrate during the period of the visit.
4. Details of any budget/ resources allocated for the purposes of policing and/ or security for the October 2015 visit of the Chinese president.
5. Details of numbers of arrests linked to the visit of the Chinese president, and the outcome of those arrests (that is, whether any of those arrestees were prosecuted and the outcome of those prosecutions).
6. Details of the numbers of individuals who entered the UK around the time of the visit of the Chinese president for the purposes of presenting as “pro-China” demonstrators.
My freedom of information requests to Home Office include all the question 1-6 above, to City of London Police, Metropolitan Police include 1, 3, 4 and 5.
City of London Police, Metropolitan Police and Home Office responded similar exclusion from my FOI requests. City of London Police only answered the question 4 and 5. Home Office provided partly information on 3 and 5. Below are selected responses from Home Office on 26 May 2016.
“The ‘right to know’ must be balanced against the need to enable effective government and to serve the best interests of the public…. there is also a public interest in the Home Office protecting national security… its release would undermine the Governments security procedures, and consequently adversely impact on the UK’s security… The disclosure of information detailing our relationship with the People's Republic of China Government could potentially damage the bilateral relationship between the UK and the People's Republic of China. This would reduce the UK government's ability to protect and promote UK interests through its relations with the People's Republic of China, which would not be in the public interest… we do not believe it is in the interest of the public to provide details on police intelligence, tactical abilities and capabilities that may adversely effect future police operations… However, it is vital that the police are in a position to offer free and frank advice to the Government, confident that this dialogue may not be disclosed. If this confidence is lost, discussions in the future may be affected due to a loss of frankness, which may impair the quality of future decision making.” ( responses from Home Office)
The reply of Home office is similar to the one of Chinese government when Chinese citizen sent freedom of information requests on the responsibility of Chinese authorities in connection with disasters. The UK government assumes that it knows how to serve the best interests of the public. How does the UK government respond to Chinese dictator who killed over hundreds of civil people and made series of disasters which led to death of hundred of people and tens of thousands of people homeless and serious illness within two years in PR China? How does the UK government sever the best interest of the public without transparency? How does the UK government guarantees Hinkley nuclear power station deal and high-speed rail will not influence the public safety in the UK when China’s nuclear station made potential threats and risks like the 2015 Tianjin blast where soil, air and water may still be contaminated with toxic chemicals? How is the nuclear waste managed? Send them to China or other developing countries? See how the Chinese government cracked down the peaceful protests when local people opposed the nuclear waste plant. http://www.rfa.org/english/news/china/china-protest-08082016125330.html https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8sea1GgUCrA
“What is the bilateral relationship between the UK and China based? After China government demanded, the British government restricted right to protest, arrested peaceful protesters, searched their premises and seize their property and gave release conditions to prevent the protesters from further protesting against the Chinese despot. (see IPCC complaint: https://www.amnesty.org.uk/blogs/countdown-china/summary-ipcc-complaint-re-my-arrest-during-xi-jinpings-uk-visit) Does the UK government's ability to protect and promote UK interests based on violation of basic human right in the UK?
Who benefits from keeping out of the relevant information, the UK groups affiliated to Chinese dictator? What matter is the relation with public interest in UK? How much does ordinary people pay for due to the UK maintaining the special relation with PR China regime? Like victims of Tianjin blast or millions of victims during the disasters which the Chinese government made? Can the hidden information protect “national security”? Whose “national security” is?
On the skirted information by the UK government, rule of law in the UK is approaching to rule by law and rule by man in PR China. Democracy and human right in the UK are eroding.
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