Govt rejects US human rights report

April 23, 2024

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government today said it strongly disapproves of and rejects the unfounded and biased content related to Hong Kong contained in the US Department of State's so-called 2023 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.


In a statement, the Government said it strongly disapproves of and opposes the US' repeated tactics through the so-called report in making slandering remarks against Hong Kong, where "one country, two systems" is successfully implemented.


Apart from pointing out that the US is once again overriding the rule of law with politics and politicising human rights issues, the statement made it clear that such an attempt to undermine Hong Kong's prosperity and stability and interfere in its law-based governance is doomed to fail.


The Government stated that since Hong Kong's return to the motherland, Hong Kong residents' human rights have been firmly protected by the Constitution and the Basic Law.


The Government resolutely, fully and faithfully implements the Hong Kong National Security Law (NSL), the Safeguarding National Security Ordinance and other relevant laws safeguarding national security in the city, to effectively prevent, suppress and impose punishment for acts and activities endangering national security in accordance with the law, whilst maintaining the common law system, adhering to the principle of the rule of law and upholding the rights and freedoms of Hong Kong residents in accordance with the law, so as to ensure the steadfast and successful implementation of the principle of "one country, two systems".


The Government also strongly demands the US to immediately stop acting against international law and the basic norms of international relations and interfering in China's internal affairs and Hong Kong affairs.


On legislation safeguarding national security, the statement said content regarding legislation safeguarding national security in the Hong Kong SAR contained in the US' so-called report are completely absurd and untrue.


It added that since the implementation of the NSL in June 2020, the US has ignored the large-scale and incessant riots that occurred in 2019 and devastated Hong Kong’s society, livelihood and economy.


Instead, the US piled up false stories and fabricated narratives through various so-called reports to maliciously slander legislation safeguarding national security in the Hong Kong SAR, and blatantly attack the city in safeguarding national security dutifully, faithfully and in accordance with the law, the statement noted.


The Government stated that the US has also deliberately neglected the fact that such laws have enabled the livelihood and economic activities of the Hong Kong community, and the business environment, to return to normalcy. It described the US’ bullying act and hypocrisy with double standards as utterly ugly and despicable.


In addition, the Government stressed that the legal framework in safeguarding national security in the Hong Kong SAR, as well as the Safeguarding National Security Ordinance which was gazetted and took effect last month, clearly stipulate that human rights shall be respected and protected in safeguarding national security.


It supplemented that the rights and freedoms, including the freedoms of speech, of the press and of publication, and the freedoms of association, of assembly, of procession and of demonstration, enjoyed by Hong Kong residents under the Basic Law and the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil & Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social & Cultural Rights as applied to the Hong Kong SAR are to be protected in accordance with the law.


The Government also pointed out that the offences endangering national security stipulated by the NSL target acts endangering national security with precision, and define the elements and penalties of the offences with clarity.


It explained that the prosecution has the burden to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant has the actus reus and mens rea of an offence before the defendant may be convicted by the court, as well as making it clear that the offences under the NSL do not have retrospective effect, which is in line with Article 12 of the Hong Kong Bill of Rights.


The statement also mentioned that it is each and every sovereign state's inherent right to enact laws safeguarding national security, and it is also international practice.


The US has at least 21 pieces of law safeguarding national security and is therefore, in no position to point its finger at other countries and regions for legitimately legislating to safeguard national security, the statement noted.


The Government also touched on issues regarding the sedition offence, enforcement actions, bail arrangement, legal practitioners and the city’s electoral system in the statement.


It reiterated that the Hong Kong SAR steadfastly safeguards national sovereignty, security and development interests, and fully and faithfully lives up to this top priority of "one country, two systems".


With the strong support from the motherland, and as the city where the global advantage and the China advantage converge under "one country, two systems", Hong Kong will continue to protect and promote human rights through security, development and co-operation, as well as to tell the international community good stories of the city's human rights situation in a reasoned and robust manner, the statement concluded.

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