HK responds to EU report

July 23, 2020

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government today said the European Commission’s (EC) concerns about the erosion of the city’s high degree of autonomy and the rights and freedoms enjoyed by Hong Kong people are totally unfounded.


In a statement responding to comments in a Hong Kong report issued by the commission and the European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs & Security Policy, the Hong Kong SAR Government said it could not agree with remarks in the report about the implementation of “one country, two systems” in the city.


The statement pointed out that matters of the Hong Kong SAR remain China’s internal affairs. No other state has the right to intervene in such internal affairs.


The Hong Kong SAR Government stressed that upholding and implementing the “one country, two systems” principle meets Hong Kong people’s interests, responds to the needs of maintaining Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability and serves the nation’s fundamental interests. The Central People’s Government has time and again made it clear that it will unswervingly implement the policy of “one country, two systems”.


But this has to be premised on a correct understanding of the relationship between “one country” and “two systems”. First and foremost is to firmly uphold China’s sovereignty, security and development interests.


The Hong Kong SAR Government hopes the international community will respect that fundamental principle and should take an objective view on Hong Kong’s development.


In recounting events in the past year, the truth is with the pretext of opposing a proposed legislation, which was withdrawn, to enhance Hong Kong’s legal system in respect of cross-jurisdiction co-operation in the return of fugitive offenders and mutual legal assistance in criminal matters, Hong Kong - once one of the safest cities in the world - was haunted by rioters.


They vandalised shops and traffic facilities, set fires to buildings, attacked police officers and viciously assaulted innocent citizens who held different opinions. Hong Kong’s rule of law is at stake and its citizens’ safety is under threat.


The report seemed to focus on companies in Hong Kong faced with increasing political pressure and intervention but omitted the fact that rioters selectively vandalised many companies because of their pro-China or pro-Government opinions.


The Hong Kong SAR Government always respects and protects human rights and freedoms. However, rights such as freedom of expression or assembly are not absolute and are not without limit.


It reiterated no one is above the law. In the face of these serious illegal acts, Police have the statutory duty to take lawful measures to maintain public order and safety. Police have a set of stringent guidelines on the use of force that are consistent with international human rights norms and standards.


In its judgment in April 2020, the Court of Appeal upheld the constitutionality of the Emergency Regulations Ordinance insofar as it empowers the Chief Executive in Council to make emergency regulations on any occasion of public danger. The constitutionality of the prohibition of facial covering in unlawful assemblies and unauthorised assemblies was upheld.


The Independent Police Complaints Council, comprising more than 20 members from different sectors, already submitted the Thematic Study Report on the Public Order Events arising from the Fugitive Offenders Bill since June 2019 and the Police Actions in Response to the Chief Executive in May this year. The Chief Executive has accepted all the 52 recommendations in the thematic study report, which are being followed up by the task force set up by the Security Bureau.


The statement said the European Commission has also chosen to express some views on the National Security Law recently enacted by the National People’s Congress Standing Committee for the Hong Kong SAR to safeguard national security. This is constitutional, lawful, rational and reasonable as national security falls squarely under the purview of the central authorities and after some 23 years, the Hong Kong SAR has yet to fulfil its constitutional obligations to enact local legislation to safeguard national security.


The EC’s report mentioned that some countries or parliaments have introduced measures or acts targeting Hong Kong. These are flagrant violations of international law and could hardly be in the interest of Hong Kong people and the city's bilateral partners.


The Hong Kong SAR Government calls on EU member states to adopt a pragmatic and rational attitude, and bear in mind the mutually beneficial relations between the two sides.

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