Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam has resigned from an honorary fellowship at a college at Britain’s Cambridge University after it questioned her commitment to the protection of human rights and freedom of expression.
Lam said the accusations made by Wolfson College were “groundless” and said she was “deeply disappointed by the college smearing a person on the basis of hearsay instead of facts”.
“I cannot persuade myself to continue having any connection with Wolfson College and therefore decided to give back the honorary fellowship,” Lam said in a statement on Facebook on Saturday.
She accused British politicians – whom she did not name – of being behind the move.
Relations have deteriorated rapidly between Britain and China after London accused Beijing and its new security law of violating the 1984 Joint Declaration which enshrined Hong Kong’s autonomy.
Introduction of the law prompted London to offer around 3 million residents in the former colony a path to British citizenship.
China – once courted as a prime source of investment in Britain – has accused London of gross interference and pandering to the United States.
Wolfson College said in July it was deeply concerned by events in Hong Kong and said it would consider Lam’s position as an honorary fellow, a role awarded to individuals to honour outstanding contribution in a specific field.
It said on Sunday: “The Governing Body raised concerns with Mrs Carrie Lam about her commitment to the protection of human rights and the freedom of expression in Hong Kong following recent events there.
“In response, Mrs Lam has resigned from her Honorary Fellowship.”
The United States has imposed sanctions on Lam and other officials for what Washington says is their role in curtailing political freedoms in Hong Kong.