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HK govt refutes groundless remarks in British report

The criticism that Britain made in the report against the HKSAR government's decision to postpone the HKSAR Legislative Council (LegCo) Election by one year smacked of double standards, the government said.

HK govt refutes groundless remarks in British report
File Photo

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government on Tuesday objected to sweeping attacks and groundless accusations by Britain in a six-monthly report on Hong Kong.

In recent years, social unrest that featured advocating "Hong Kong independence" and "self-determination," posed challenges to the "one country, two systems" principle, and acts and activities undermining social order and endangering Hong Kong's stability were on the rise, especially those in the latter part of 2019, the government said in a statement.

Hong Kong, which used to be one of the safest places in the world, was besieged by escalating violence, the government said.

At the same time, external forces had intensified their interference and flagrantly glorified the illegal acts of radicals using the excuse of freedom and democracy, the government said, condemning overseas politicians for turning a blind eye to such violence, which seriously jeopardized China's sovereignty, security and development interests, as well as the HKSAR's prosperity and stability.

Under the background, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) adopted the national security law in the HKSAR on June 30, which received support by some 2.9 million Hong Kong residents.

The government said violence has significantly subsided and Hong Kong people could once again enjoy their basic rights and freedoms since the implementation of the law.

National security is within the purview of the central authorities and the related legislation is invariably carried out by the central authorities rather than local governments, whether it is a unitary or federal state, the government said.

Contrary to what the British report alleged, the national security law does not conflict with Article 23 of the Hong Kong Basic Law, the government said, noting that the HKSAR is still required to enact the national security legislation on its own at an early date as stipulated in the Basic Law.

Out of respect for Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy, except in limited, specified circumstances, the HKSAR has jurisdiction over cases concerning offences under the national security law -- investigation and enforcement by the Hong Kong Police Force, prosecution by the Department of Justice, trial by Hong Kong's independent judiciary and execution of penalty by the relevant HKSAR agencies, the government said.

The government said it doubted such responsibilities would be delegated to a local government in Britain.

The criticism that Britain made in the report against the HKSAR government's decision to postpone the HKSAR Legislative Council (LegCo) Election by one year smacked of double standards, the government said.

Britain postponed the local elections in England for a year due to the coronavirus outbreak. In Hong Kong, the decision of postponement was also made against the public health risk arising from over three million voters coming out to cast their vote on a day involving over 600 polling stations, the government said.

The report's concern about the disqualification of LegCo candidates and incumbent members ignored the constitutional and legal requirement for people in public office, notably legislators, to uphold the oath they made in swearing allegiance to the HKSAR and upholding the Basic Law, the government said.

Swearing allegiance to the system of the country and upholding laws of the state is an international norm for public officers and any breach of the oath will not be tolerated, the government said.

It is time for Britain to respect law-abiding Hong Kong people's aspirations for stability and prosperity and appreciate Hong Kong's well-positioned status to flourish under the "one country, two systems" with the full and unreserved support of the Chinese central government, the HKSAR government said.

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