The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government on Thursday evening vehemently refuted, strongly disapproved and firmly rejected remarks made in United Kingdom's (UK) so-called "Six-monthly Report on Hong Kong."
The so-called report made slandering remarks and ill-intentioned political attacks on the HKSAR under the successful application of the "One Country, Two Systems" principle, a spokesperson for the HKSAR government said.
The spokesperson said that the improved electoral system of the HKSAR puts in place legal safeguards to ensure full implementation of "patriots administering Hong Kong." Regardless of one's background, whoever meets the requirements and criteria of patriots, can participate in elections in accordance with the law. The 2022 Legislative Council Election Committee Constituency by-election was successfully held by the HKSAR government on December 18, 2022 in strict accordance with the electoral laws of the HKSAR in an open, fair and honest manner.
On safeguarding national security, the spokesperson said national security is a matter within the purview of the central authorities. It is the responsibility and right of every country to safeguard its national security. The UK also has many laws on national security. The HKSAR government firmly opposes the UK's repeated malicious slander against the National Security Law in Hong Kong in attempts of interfering in Hong Kong's law-based governance and undermining the rule of law of Hong Kong in the so-called report. The law has achieved the intended effect, and has swiftly and effectively restored stability and security.
The HKSAR government seriously reiterated that all law enforcement actions taken by Hong Kong law enforcement agencies under the National Security Law in Hong Kong, or any local laws, are based on evidence, strictly according to the law and for the acts of the people, institutions or organizations concerned, and have nothing to do with their background or occupation.
Hong Kong is a society underpinned by the rule of law. All Hong Kong residents shall be equal before the law, the spokesperson said.
The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress exercises the power of interpretation in accordance with the relevant provisions of the constitution and the National Security Law in Hong Kong, which is a fundamental aspect of the "One Country, Two Systems" principle, and a manifestation of the principle of the rule of law. It did not in any way impair the independent judicial power and the power of final adjudication of the Hong Kong courts.
In the UK, there is simply no regime for ad hoc admission of overseas lawyers similar to that in Hong Kong. Any comment on the case of the overseas lawyer's application for ad hoc admission is a paradigm case of double standards and hypocrisy.
The spokesman for the HKSAR government reiterated Hong Kong residents enjoy the rights and freedoms under the Basic Law of the HKSAR and other relevant laws. However, such rights and freedoms are not absolute. The exercise of such freedom may be subject to restrictions that are provided by law and are necessary for pursuing legitimate aims such as the protection of national security or public order. Since the implementation of the National Security Law in Hong Kong, the media landscape in Hong Kong has been as vibrant as ever.
The Office of the Commissioner of the Chinese Foreign Ministry in the HKSAR also expressed strong dissatisfaction with and firm opposition to the so-called report.
A spokesperson for the office said that the so-called report finger-pointed at Hong Kong affairs, distorted and smeared the Chinese government's policies towards Hong Kong, wantonly attacked on the National Security Law in Hong Kong and the electoral system of the HKSAR, and denigrated Hong Kong's human rights and rule of law.
The office urged the UK side to abide by the principles of international law and basic norms governing international relations, and immediately stop its political manipulation of crude interference in Hong Kong affairs. The spokesperson said that the National Security Law in Hong Kong and the new electoral system have successfully closed the loopholes in Hong Kong's electoral system and in safeguarding national security, and the situation in Hong Kong has turned from chaos to governance and from governance to prosperity. The legal rights and freedoms of speech, press and association enjoyed by Hong Kong residents are better protected in a safer environment.
The so-called report blamed China for its just actions to safeguard national security, made irresponsible remarks about the HKSAR government's administration, and made arbitrary comments on the fair trial of the HKSAR courts, which has completely become a political performance tool and has no credibility at all.
The spokesperson stressed that after Hong Kong's return to the motherland, the legal basis for the Chinese government to administer the HKSAR is the Chinese Constitution and the Basic Law of the HKSAR, not the Sino-British Joint Declaration. The British side has no sovereignty, jurisdiction or supervision over Hong Kong after its return to the motherland. The British side kept talking about the so-called "historical responsibility" in the Sino-British Joint Declaration, which is purely a distortion of history and jurisprudence.
The spokesman pointed out that Hong Kong remains a paradise for investors from all over the world, and continues to be rated as one of the freest and most competitive economies in the world. The office firmly believed that with the strong backing of the great motherland, diligent residents in Hong Kong, and the solid foundation of good governance, Hong Kong will have better development and brighter prospects.
The spokesperson urged the UK side to recognize the reality, conform to the general trend, and immediately stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs.
(Cover: A view of Golden Bauhinia Square in south China's HKSAR, May 6, 2023. /CFP)