The reports in question were published on Thursday local time. They were the UK’s six-monthly Report on Hong Kong from July to December 2021 and the US’ 2022 Hong Kong Policy Act Report.
In the UK report, the British Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss, said alternative voices in the SAR’s executive, legislature, civil society and media “have been all but extinguished” with no space left for “meaningful political debate”.
Truss also said that because of what she called a “downward trajectory”, it was agreed that it was no longer tenable for serving UK judges to sit on Hong Kong’s top court.
This comes after the resignations of two senior British judges from the city’s Court of Final Appeal.
The US report, which looked into events that took place in Hong Kong from March last year to March this year, accused Chinese authorities of taking actions that “eliminated the ability of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy opposition to play a meaningful role in the city’s governance and effectively criminalized peaceful political expression critical of the central and local governments”.
In a statement published on Friday, an SAR government spokesman said: “The HKSAR Government urges foreign countries to stop interfering into the internal affairs of China through Hong Kong affairs.”
The statement goes on to say that the authorities did not agree with concerns raised in the reports about last year’s Legislative Council elections, the national security law, judicial independence, and press freedom.
It said that the elections – which were delayed by a year with the authorities citing the Covid-19 pandemic – was conducted in accordance with the law, and was open, fair, honest and efficient.
It stressed that while judges from other common law jurisdictions are invited to sit on the Court of Final Appeal, their departure “will not in any way affect [the administration’s] commitment to the rule of law and judicial independence”, adding that judicial independence is protected under the Basic Law.
It also reiterated that press freedom is guaranteed under the Basic Law, and that the national security law had restored stability in Hong Kong.