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China urges U.S. to stop interfering in HKSAR affairs


China deplores the U.S. statement related to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and urges it to stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said on Friday.

Mao's remarks came after the U.S. Department of State said on February 28 in a statement that it is closely monitoring the implications of Hong Kong's national security legislation under Article 23 of the Basic Law and concerned by the broad and vague definitions of "state secrets", "external interference" and the extraterritorial reach of Article 23.

"China strongly deplores and firmly opposes the U.S. statement," said Mao at a regular press briefing.

Completing the legislation on Article 23 of the Basic Law and plugging loopholes to safeguard national security is the constitutional responsibility of the government of HKSAR and what must be done for the lasting stability and security in HKSAR and the sound implementation of "One Country, Two Systems" in the long run, she said.

The HKSAR government on January 30 launched a one-month public consultation on the legislation of Article 23.

The just concluded public consultation has shown that the Hong Kong society has reached strong consensus to complete the legislation, said Mao.

The legislation on Article 23 targets a handful of criminals gravely endangering the national security and protects in accordance with law the rights and freedoms which the residents of Hong Kong enjoy under the Basic Law and the provisions of relevant international covenants as applied to Hong Kong, she said.

Foreign citizens, investments and companies operating in Hong Kong will also be protected in accordance with law, said Mao.

The extraterritorial effect of Article 23 is in strict compliance with international law and the common practices of all countries and regions, she stressed.

"State secrets" and "external interference" are defined with full consideration given to HKSAR's realities and the common practices of all countries, she said. "The legislation is legitimate, lawful and beyond reproach."

Mao said, the past three years since the Law of the People's Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the HKSAR was formulated and came into force is a period when Hong Kong has restored order and is set to thrive again, and when the international community cast a vote of confidence in Hong Kong's prospects.

After the Article 23 legislation is completed, Hong Kong's high-quality development and high-standard opening up will be better guaranteed and Hong Kong residents and international investors will benefit from it, she said.

The spokesperson slammed the U.S. double standards on national security issues.

The U.S. has issued troves of laws safeguarding its own national security, but thrown dirt on and labeled the legislation on Article 23 of the Basic Law, she said. "This is out-and-out political manipulation and hypocritical double standards."

Mao stressed that Hong Kong is China's Hong Kong and Hong Kong affairs are purely China's internal affairs, which no country is in any position to point fingers at or interfere in.

China urges the U.S. to respect China's sovereignty, observe the principles guiding international law and the basic norms governing international relations, and immediately stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs which are China's internal affairs, she added.

(Cover: Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning speaks at a regular press briefing in Beijing, China, March 1, 2024. /Chinese Foreign Ministry)

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