The report, compiled by the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs Office, alleged that since the introduction of the National Security Law in Hong Kong just over a year ago, mainland and SAR authorities had used the law to clamp down on the opposition, free press and civil society.
It also said the National People’s Congress decision to introduce sweeping changes to Hong Kong’s electoral system earlier this year “reverses China’s promise to Hong Kong in the Basic Law of gradual progress towards a system of universal suffrage, and further hollows out the Legislative Council”.
In a statement, the Hong Kong government called on London to stop interfering in China’s internal affairs, saying the National Security Law (NSL) is crucial for the SAR.
“The NSL ensures the resolute, full and faithful implementation of the policy of ‘one country, two systems’ under which the people of Hong Kong administer Hong Kong with a high degree of autonomy, and the legitimate rights and freedoms enjoyed by Hong Kong people under the Basic Law are well-protected,” the statement wrote.
“We strongly oppose the report’s unfounded allegations against the improvement to the electoral system… The improvement to the electoral system fully implements the principle of ‘patriots administering Hong Kong’, ensuring that members of the Legislative Council are patriotic, love Hong Kong and act in the interests of the country’s development and the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong.”
The government spokesperson also brushed aside the report’s concerns over prosecutorial decisions and judicial independence in Hong Kong, saying prosecutions in the city are made independently by the Department of Justice “based on an objective assessment of all admissible evidence, applicable laws and the Prosecution Code, without political considerations.”