“They would no longer be bound by Article 5 and the joint declaration,” he said, referring to another deal with Britain. In December 1989, a British government official paid a secret visit to Beijing, during which he assured the Chinese authorities of Britain`s commitment to the joint declaration and promised that Hong Kong should not become a base for anti-Chinese subversion. In 1990, the Hong Kong government arrested and punished pro-democracy activists for minor offenses, invoking authoritarian colonial rules on public order aimed at suppressing independent political activities. At the same time, following secret negotiations between the British and Chinese governments, it was announced that the representation of the population in legco in the 1991 elections would be increased to 18 directly elected seats, 20 in 1997, 24 in 1999 and 30 in 2003. (18) A clause reflecting this agreement was incorporated into the Basic Law in 1990. (19) However, no changes have been proposed for the executive branch of government. The Executive Council remained a fully appointed body and the Governor retained his supreme executive position. In July 2017, when British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson insisted on democratic progress in Hong Kong, lu Kang, spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said that Hong Kong`s legally binding transfer contract with Britain “no longer has practical significance as a historical document” and that it “is absolutely not binding on the management of Hong Kong`s central government.    In 2014, in the context of China`s Umbrella Revolution, the UK Foreign Affairs Committee was barred from entering Hong Kong as part of its planned December visit, as part of its investigation into progress in implementing the Sino-British Joint Declaration. During an emergency parliamentary debate on the unprecedented ban, committee chairman Richard Ottaway revealed that Chinese officials consider the joint statement “now null and void and only cover the period from the 1984 signature to the 1997 handover.”  Hong Kong`s transfer of British sovereignty to Chinese sovereignty raised questions about the territory`s ability to maintain the economic performance it shifted from a traffic jam in the 1950s to a prosperous industrialized economy. . .