Chinese embassy urges UK politicians to stop meddling in HK affairs

The Chinese Embassy in the UK on Tuesday denounced seven UK ex-foreign ministers' interference in Hong Kong affairs and warned of necessary countermeasures. 

Seven former British foreign ministers called on UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a letter on Monday to push its Group of Seven (G-7) allies to set up an international monitoring group for Hong Kong. 

"Hong Kong affairs brook no external interference. Non-interference in other country's internal affairs is a basic principle of international law and a basic norm governing modern international relations, which must be observed by all countries," said a spokesperson from the embassy in a statement. 

Hong Kong was returned to China on July 1, 1997 and has since then been a special administrative region of China. The national security legislation for the Hong Kong SAR is purely China's internal affair, which no foreign country has the right to interfere in, noted the statement. 

If any foreign or external forces interfere in Hong Kong affairs in any form, China will take necessary countermeasures, it warned. 

The statement pointed out that as is in all countries, it is the central government that is responsible for upholding national security. Making laws on national security falls within the legislative power of the nation. Neither the UK nor China is an exception.  

Through Article 23 of the Basic Law, the central government authorizes the Hong Kong SAR to enact laws on safeguarding national security. This authorization, however, does not change the nature that such legislative power belongs to the central government, it added. 

In view of the grave situation with regard to national security in the Hong Kong SAR and the SAR's inability to enact laws on safeguarding national security by itself, it is the right and responsibility of the National People's Congress, as the highest organ of state power in China, to plug this loophole that compromises national security in Hong Kong through legislation in accordance with the Constitution and the Basic Law, the statement explained. 

China has so far received support and understanding from Russia, Serbia, Cambodia, Pakistan, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Vietnam, the African Union and so on. 

As for the Sino-British Joint Declaration, the statement pointed out that its ultimate goal was to ensure the handover of Hong Kong to China. Not a single word or paragraph in the Joint Declaration gives the UK any responsibility over Hong Kong after its handover. The Sino-British Joint Declaration should not be used as an excuse to interfere in Hong Kong affairs, which are China's internal affairs. 

Speaking of the British National Overseas status (BNO), the spokesperson said China and the UK exchanged memorandums and reached an agreement that people with BNOs do not have the right to live or work in the UK. If the UK changed it unilaterally, it will not only violate its commitment, but also international laws and basic principles of international relations. 

The BNO was a kind of passport the UK gave to some Hong Kong residents before the 1997 handover.  

People with BNOs can enter the UK without a visa and stay for 180 out of 365 days, but do not have the right to live or work there. About 170,000 Hong Kong residents held valid BNOs as of 2019.   

The spokesperson urged the UK politicians to recognize the fact that Hong Kong has returned to China, abide by the principle of non-interference in other countries' internal affairs, stop meddling in Hong Kong affairs in any form, and stop interfering in China's internal affairs.