Govt refutes baseless allegations

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government today strongly condemned and opposed the unfounded allegations made by the United States-China Economic & Security Review Commission’s report.   In a statement, the Hong Kong SAR Government urged the US to respect the international law and basic norms governing international relations.   “Any attempts to interfere in the internal affairs of China through Hong Kong will not succeed and we will continue to discharge our responsibility of safeguarding the national security resolutely.”   It pointed out that following the implementation of the National Security Law (NSL), chaos has been stopped and stability restored in Hong Kong.   The NSL ensures the resolute, full and faithful implementation of “one country, two systems” and that Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy and citizens’ legitimate rights and freedoms are well protected under the Basic Law, the Hong Kong SAR Government emphasised.   “The NSL clearly stipulates that human rights shall be respected and protected in safeguarding national security in the Hong Kong SAR, and the rights and freedoms enjoyed by residents under the Basic Law and the provisions of the International Covenant on Economic, Social & Cultural Rights as applied to Hong Kong shall be protected in accordance with the law.   “The four categories of offences endangering national security clearly stipulated under the NSL are narrowly defined. There is no question of law-abiding people inadvertently violating the law.”   The Hong Kong SAR Government stressed that the NSL also reinforces Hong Kong’s position as an international financial centre and is conducive to attracting global investors to do business and invest in the city.   “Since the implementation of the NSL, our financial market has remained steady. The banking sector is as robust as ever, financial services remain promising and development opportunities, both in Hong Kong and on the Mainland, continue to open up.   “Hong Kong was ranked the world’s third largest recipient of foreign direct investment in the World Investment Report 2021 published by the United Nations Conference on Trade & Development.”   It also strongly opposed the commission’s recommendation about reporting on Hong Kong’s compliance with World Trade Organization rules.   “As a separate customs territory, our rights as a World Trade Organization member in the name of Hong Kong, China are not subject to unilateral determination by any country.”   Pointing out that the allegations against the improvement of Hong Kong’s electoral system mentioned in the report were unfounded, the Hong Kong SAR Government explained that such an improvement was well timed and needed.   “To ensure that the electoral system of the Hong Kong SAR accords with the principle of ‘one country, two systems’ and the actual situation of the Hong Kong SAR, and that the principle of ‘patriots administering Hong Kong’ can be fully implemented, which is conducive to safeguarding the country’s sovereignty, security, and development interests, and maintaining Hong Kong’s long-term prosperity and stability, the improvement to the electoral system of the Hong Kong SAR is both timely and necessary.   “The Hong Kong SAR Government is committed to ensuring that public elections are conducted in a fair, open and honest manner.”   The Hong Kong SAR Government also conveyed deep regret that the commission expressed double standards, biased quotes and groundless comments in its report due to the lack of understanding of and respect for Hong Kong’s implementation of national education.   “The allegation made in the report regarding a Hong Kong SAR Government circular on national security education directed at the universities is false. The relevant circular is only applicable to secondary and primary schools as well as kindergartens.”   While enjoying autonomy on institutional affairs, post-secondary education institutions have the responsibility to make sure their operations are in compliance with the law and meet the interests of the community at large, the Hong Kong SAR Government said.   As such, the institutions are promoting national security education in accordance with the NSL’s requirements and based on the principle of institutional autonomy to fulfil their obligation of safeguarding national security.   Furthermore, it objected to the report’s unreasonable questions towards Hong Kong’s prosecutorial decisions and judicial independence.   “Article 63 of the Basic Law stipulates that prosecutions in the Hong Kong SAR are made by the Department of Justice, free from any interference. Prosecutorial decisions are based on the objective assessment of all admissible evidence, applicable laws and the Prosecution Code, without political considerations.   “Prosecutions would only be commenced if there is sufficient admissible evidence to support a reasonable prospect of conviction.”   In addition to noting that local courts can exercise independent judicial power, including that of final adjudication free from any interference, the Hong Kong SAR Government underscored that the constitutional duty of judges is to apply the law and nothing else.   Such duty does not change when judges decide cases arising from or involving political controversies, it added.
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