Govt condemns prize for NSL suspect

December 13, 2023

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government today expressed its strong disapproval of and firm opposition to the ministries of foreign affairs of France and Germany for issuing a prize to Chow Hang-tung.

Chow has been charged on suspicion of committing offences under the Hong Kong National Security Law (NSL). In a statement, the Hong Kong SAR Government indicated that she faces a criminal prosecution of incitement to subversion and that the case is awaiting trial in the Court of First Instance of the High Court.

It added that as the ministries of foreign affairs of France and Germany have issued their prize to Chow in the name of “human rights” and the “rule of law” while judicial proceedings are still ongoing, this is obviously contrary to the spirit of respecting the rule of law.

The Hong Kong SAR Government strongly urged these foreign countries to respect the rule of law, abide by international law and the basic norms that govern international relations, and immediately stop interfering in the affairs of Hong Kong.

The statement also pointed out that Hong Kong is a society underpinned by the rule of law and has always adhered to the principle that laws must be obeyed and lawbreakers held accountable.

It emphasised that Hong Kong’s law enforcement agencies take actions based on evidence and strictly in accordance with the law against those who endanger national security.

It added that the Department of Justice is in charge of criminal prosecutions under Article 63 of the Basic Law, with all prosecutorial decisions being made based on an objective analysis of all admissible evidence and applicable laws. Meanwhile, the Judiciary exercises judicial power independently in accordance with the law, and everyone charged with a criminal offence has the right to a fair hearing.

The statement also outlined that Hong Kong residents enjoy rights and freedoms under the Basic Law, the Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance and other relevant laws.

It added that the NSL clearly stipulates that human rights shall be respected and protected in the safeguarding of national security in the Hong Kong SAR, and that the rights and freedoms Hong Kong residents enjoy under the Basic Law, and under the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil & Political Rights, as well as the International Covenant on Economic, Social & Cultural Rights as applied to Hong Kong, shall be protected in accordance with the law.

The statement reiterated that the Hong Kong SAR Government will continue to resolutely discharge its responsibility of safeguarding national security, effectively preventing, suppressing and punishing acts and activities that endanger national security, whilst also safeguarding the rights and freedoms enjoyed by Hong Kong people under the law.

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