Government hits out at UK report on Hong Kong

The government on Friday hit out at remarks contained in the UK’s latest six-monthly report on Hong Kong, describing them as inaccurate.

The UK report criticised Beijing’s overhaul of Hong Kong’s electoral system, prosecution decisions made by the Department of Justice, and the national security law – which was imposed by Beijing last year following months of anti-government protests here.

“Any objective person will see that since the implementation of the Hong Kong National Security Law, stability, which is vital to business activities, has been restored to society and national security has been safeguarded in the HKSAR.

“Our people can continue to enjoy their basic rights and freedoms in accordance with the law,” an SAR government spokesman said.

Since the handover in July 1997, the UK foreign secretary has reported to Parliament at 6-monthly intervals on the implementation of the Sino-British Joint Declaration.

The latest British report said the National Security Law was not being used for its original purpose to target just “a tiny number of criminals who seriously endanger national security”, but to stifle political opposition, with the mass arrests of pro-democracy figures, including media tycoon Jimmy Lai.

It said the National People’s Congress acted unilaterally on electoral changes in Hong Kong, reversing China’s promise in the Basic Law of gradual progress towards universal suffrage, and further hollowing out the Legislative Council.

It said Beijing’s efforts to enforce “patriotism” were extended further, with oath-taking introduced for civil servants, creating new and arbitrary reasons for dismissal, adding that it hoped the judiciary could operate independently, with British judges continuing to serve.

The report highlighted the UK government’s response to what it called China’s egregious actions, including providing a new immigration route for Hong Kong people with British Nationals (Overseas) passports, suspending its Extradition Treaty with Hong Kong, and extending the arms embargo on mainland China to cover Hong Kong.
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Last updated: 2021-06-11 HKT 08:24