Govt rejects UK official's remarks

February 28, 2023

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government today said it strongly disapproves of and firmly rejects the untruthful and biased remarks recently made by UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly on the National Security Law and the rights and freedoms in Hong Kong.


Mr Cleverly's untruthful and unfounded remarks on the implementation of the National Security Law in the city amounted to political smearing and fact twisting, the Hong Kong SAR Government said, adding that national security is a matter within the central authorities' purview and it is every country's responsibility and right to safeguard its national security.


“The UK has many laws on national security, but the government official concerned chooses to continue to wantonly smear the National Security Law and deliberately ignore the fact that the implementation of the National Security Law has enabled the livelihood and economic activities of the Hong Kong community at large to resume as normal, and the business environment to be restored.


“Clearly, this is hypocrisy out of political motivation with double standards and a despicable manoeuvre with politics prevailing over the law.”


The Hong Kong SAR Government also stressed that all law enforcement actions taken by Hong Kong law enforcement agencies are based on evidence, strictly according to the law and for the acts of the people, institutions or organisations concerned, which have nothing to do with their political stance, background or occupation.


Mr Cleverly's remarks about Hong Kong's law enforcement actions are a malicious fabrication, it added.


“We are appalled by the remarks of the UK government official that seem to suggest that persons with certain backgrounds should be immune from legal sanctions for their illegal acts and activities.


“Such remarks are tantamount to granting such persons privileges to break the law and are totally contrary to the spirit of the rule of law.”


The National Security Law clearly stipulates that human rights shall be respected and protected in safeguarding national security in the Hong Kong SAR, and that the rights and freedoms, including the freedoms of speech, of the press, of publication and of assembly, Hong Kong residents enjoy under the Basic Law and the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil & Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social & Cultural Rights shall be protected in accordance with the law.


Nonetheless, such rights and freedoms are not absolute. The ICCPR expressly states that some of them may be subject to restrictions as prescribed by law that are necessary for protection of national security, public safety, public order or the rights and freedoms of others, etc.


“The UK government official's remarks about the rights and freedoms in the Hong Kong SAR amount to political manipulation in disregard of facts,” the Hong Kong SAR Government noted.


“Indeed, since the implementation of the National Security Law, the media landscape in Hong Kong has been as vibrant as ever.


“As always, the media can exercise their right to monitor the Hong Kong SAR Government's work. Their freedom of commenting on and criticising government policies, which take place as a matter of routine, remains uninhibited as long as they are not in violation of the law.”


The Hong Kong SAR Government reiterated that it steadfastly safeguards national sovereignty, security and development interests, and upholds the authority of the National Security Law.


In addition, it resolutely carries out its duties and obligations to safeguard national security in accordance with the law and to ensure the steadfast and successful implementation of “one country, two systems”.


The Hong Kong SAR Government strongly urged the UK to immediately stop acting against the international law and basic norms of international relations and refrain from interfering in Hong Kong's affairs.

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