US condemned over NSL report

The Hong Kong government has rejected a US report which said the National Security Law (NSL) had eroded the SAR’s judicial independence and curtailed freedoms.

The report by the United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission also criticised the overhaul of the electoral system, and accused Beijing of having “mainlandised” Hong Kong and of turning its Legislative Council into a rubber stamp.

In a statement issued early on Thursday, the government said it strongly condemned and opposed “the various unfounded allegations”.

“The HKSAR Government once again urges the United States 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.”

The US report said changes to the educational curricula under the NSL required teachers to promote the Chinese Communist Party’s interpretation of history, and accused the authorities of using these new powers to fire them for unapproved speech.

It also accused the government of using the security law to erode judicial independence, and said the NSL had allowed it to “curtail the city’s freedoms with little notice or process.” It cited reforms to censorship laws, that were passed in June, and said independent and opposition media organisations had been systematically dismantled.

But the government dismissed the criticism of the security law, saying it had not only ensured a safe and stable environment in Hong Kong, but had also reinforced its position as an international financial centre, and was conducive to attracting more global investors to do business and invest in the SAR.

On education and the dismissal of teachers, it said “the Education Bureau has the responsibility to ensure the professional conduct of teachers. We would cancel the registration of seriously misconducted teachers in order to safeguard students’ wellbeing, uphold the professionalism of teachers and maintain the society’s confidence in the teaching profession.”

“Teachers are role models of their students,” the statement said.

It also rejected what it called the “unfounded allegations” against the electoral changes in Hong Kong, describing them as both “timely and necessary”.

“The HKSAR Government is committed to ensuring public elections being conducted in a fair, open and honest manner,” it said.