China slams attempts from UK, others to smear Hong Kong LegCo poll
Updated 23:20, 21-Dec-2021

China has deplored the comments made by foreign ministers of the UK, the U.S., Australia, Canada and New Zealand on the Legislative Council (LegCo) election in its Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR).

Secretary of state for foreign, commonwealth and development affairs of the UK on Monday issued a joint statement with the U.S. secretary of state and the foreign ministers of Australia, Canada and New Zealand, expressing "grave concern" over the election results and making irresponsible comments on China's measures to improve the electoral system in the HKSAR.

At a regular news briefing in Beijing on Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian strongly denounced "some individual Western countries" for colluding to smear the election.

Zhao said there was no such thing as democracy when Hong Kong was under British colonial rule, and no single "so-called democratic country" had voiced concerns over that.

"These Western countries should face up to the reality that Hong Kong has returned to China for 24 years," Zhao said.

Zhao urged them to stop all forms of interference in HKSAR affairs and China's internal affairs.

A polling station in Wan Chai in the HKSAR, China, December 19, 2021. /Xinhua

A polling station in Wan Chai in the HKSAR, China, December 19, 2021. /Xinhua

'Allegations against election baseless'

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the HKSAR government also voiced firm opposition to the five countries' attempt to smear the LegCo election, accusing them of making up allegations contrary to facts and without basis.

"The improvement to the electoral system fully implements the principle of 'patriots administering Hong Kong,' ensuring that members of the LegCo are patriotic, love Hong Kong and act in the interests of the country's development and the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong," the statement read.

"Any external or internal destructive force and political conspiracy trying to interfere with the HKSAR's democratic development in accordance with the Basic Law will not succeed," it stressed.

As for the allegations pertaining to the national security law, it reiterated that chaos had ceased and stability restored in the HKSAR following the implement of the law.

"The four categories of offences endangering national security stipulated under the national security law are clearly defined. Law-abiding people will not unwittingly violate the law," the statement continued.

It also said that actions taken by Hong Kong's law enforcement agencies are based on evidence, strictly according to the law, for the acts of the persons or entities concerned, and have nothing to do with their political stance, background or occupation.


On Monday, the Chinese Embassy in the UK also said in a statement, "The irresponsible comments, distortion of facts and malicious discrediting of the election made by the UK foreign secretary in collusion with the foreign ministers of the other four countries gravely interfered in China's internal affairs and violated the basic norms governing international relations. The Chinese side expresses firm opposition and strong condemnation."

As the first LegCo election following the improvement of the electoral system, the December 19 election in the HKSAR was "smooth, fair and just," which ended the "chaos and the viciously antagonistic and divisive campaigns that had plagued previous elections for years," it said.

This election displayed a "rational and constructive culture" and was held with "extensive representation, political inclusiveness, balanced participation and fair competition," it said. 

The statement called the election a "successful model of quality and true democracy," saying it bears important and far-reaching significance to developing a democratic path that suits the real conditions of Hong Kong.

"It must be pointed out that Hong Kong residents today enjoy far more rights and freedoms than under the British colonial rule," the statement read. 

It reiterated that the core content of the Sino-British Joint Declaration pertains to China resuming sovereignty over Hong Kong. "It does not give the UK any responsibility over Hong Kong after the handover, nor does the UK has sovereignty, jurisdiction or right of supervision over Hong Kong."  

The Chinese government governs the HKSAR in accordance with the Constitution of China and the Basic Law of the HKSAR, not the Joint Declaration, the statement stressed, adding no foreign country has the right to use the Joint Declaration as an excuse to interfere in the HKSAR affairs. 

Noting the Chinese government remains unwavering in its determination to safeguard China's sovereignty, security and development interests and oppose any external interference, it warned that attempts to create trouble in the HKSAR or use it to contain China will never succeed. 

China strongly urges the handful of countries, including the UK, to "take off their mask of hypocrisy," recognize the reality and major trend, respect China's sovereignty and unity, and stop any form of interference in the HKSAR affairs, which are China's internal affairs, the statement added. 

Staff members count ballots for the election of the seventh-term Legislative Council in Hong Kong, south China, December 19, 2021. /Xinhua

Staff members count ballots for the election of the seventh-term Legislative Council in Hong Kong, south China, December 19, 2021. /Xinhua

'Reckless disregard of the facts'

Separately, the Chinese Embassy in Australia on Monday also refuted the joint statement, saying these five countries "recklessly disregarded the facts and reversed the truth," and "wantonly interfered in China's internal affairs."

In a statement released on Monday, it stressed that the LegCo election was crucial in the transition of the HKSAR from chaos to stability and prosperity, besides being of great significance to the implementation of the principle of "patriots administering Hong Kong" and promotion of "One Country, Two Systems" principle.

The Chinese central government and the HKSAR government know best how to secure the prosperity and stability of the region, the statement read.

"In recent years, the Australian side has gone all out to hype up its opposition to so-called foreign interference, while in the meantime, constantly finding various excuses to violently interfere in China's internal affairs which fully reveals its hypocritical nature of double standards."

China strongly urges the Australian side to reflect on itself and stop undermining the stability and development of other countries under any pretext, it said.

'Attempts of self-inflicted humiliation'

The Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the HKSAR on Monday said attempts to interfere in China's internal affairs will only lead to "self-inflicted humiliation."

Under the British colonial rule, there was no democracy in the HKSAR and the British colonial government maintained a repressive rule, the spokesperson of the office said.

The politicians of the United States are habitual criminals who undermine the democratic development of the HKSAR and stir up social conflicts, the spokesperson pointed out.

As for Australia, Canada and New Zealand, the spokesperson noted these countries also have a lot of bad records in giving support to anti-China elements and undermining democracy and the rule of law in the HKSAR.

The spokesperson told these countries that the "days when external forces wantonly meddled in Hong Kong affairs by supporting political agents are gone."

The Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the HKSAR also released a statement on Monday, calling these five countries' move a political trick. The statement said these countries are the chief culprit in undermining Hong Kong's prosperity, stability and its democratic process.

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