US visa restrictions condemned

May 31, 2024

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government today said it strongly disapproves of and condemns the US Department of State over its proposed imposition of “visa restrictions” on People's Republic of China (PRC) and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region officials relating to the implementation of the National Security Law (NSL).


It said the proposed restrictions amount to despicable political manipulation intended to intimidate PRC and Hong Kong SAR officials engaged in safeguarding national security, and are a gross interference in the internal affairs of China and Hong Kong, besides violating international law and the basic norms governing international relations.


The Hong Kong SAR Government said it despises such threats and will resolutely continue to discharge the duty of safeguarding national security.


It highlighted that the court verdict delivered in a conspiracy to commit subversion case on May 30 clearly confirmed that the criminal acts in the case were aimed at undermining, destroying or overthrowing the existing political system and structure of the Hong Kong SAR as established under the Basic Law and the “one country, two systems” principle.


It said such criminal acts, which endangered national security, had nothing to do with the so-called fight for democracy and human rights.


In a 318-page judgment, the court clearly set out the reasons for and the considerations underlying the conviction. A total of 47 persons were charged in the case. Apart from two defendants against whom the evidence was found insufficient for the court to be sure of their participation in the conspiracy offence, the remaining 45 defendants were convicted. With regard to the other two defendants, the Department of Justice has already informed the court of its intention to appeal.


The Hong Kong SAR Government iterated that Hong Kong's law enforcement agencies take actions based on evidence and strictly in accordance with the law in respect of the acts committed by persons or entities, and not in relation to their political stances, background or occupation.


It added that the suggestion that certain individuals should be immune from legal consequences for their illegal acts, including the illegal act of subversion, amounts to advocating for a special pass to break the law, and runs contrary to the spirit of the rule of law.


The Hong Kong SAR Government stressed that the offences endangering national security stipulated under the NSL target acts endangering national security with precision, and define the elements and penalties of the offences with clarity.


It said that on the charge of conspiracy to commit subversion, the court laid out clearly that the prosecution had a duty to prove beyond reasonable doubt the relevant conspiratorial agreement, the defendants' intention to carry out unlawful acts, and that they acted with a view to subverting the power of the state.


It emphasised that the Basic Law and the Hong Kong Bill of Rights guarantee all defendants charged with a criminal offence the right to a fair trial by the Judiciary exercising independent judicial power free from any interference.

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