China strongly opposes U.K. statement on Hong Kong, urges end to interference

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Mao Ning

1st March 2024 – (Beijing) China has firmly denounced the United Kingdom’s recent statement regarding the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and called on the U.K. to cease interfering in Hong Kong affairs, according to a statement by Mao Ning, spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry, on Thursday.

Mao’s remarks were in response to a statement released by U.K. Foreign Secretary David Cameron on 28th February. The statement criticized the HKSAR government’s legislative proposals on Article 23 of the Basic Law, asserting that they fail to uphold the obligations of the Sino-British Joint Declaration. It also warned of negative impacts on the rights, freedoms, and international organisations operating in Hong Kong, which could be labelled as “foreign interference.”

Mao described the U.K.’s statement as a blatant interference in China’s internal and Hong Kong affairs, exposing their deeply ingrained colonial mindset and lecturing mentality. China vehemently opposes such actions, she emphasised.

Addressing the U.K.’s concerns, Mao stated that the Sino-British Joint Declaration does not grant the U.K. the authority or right to intervene in Hong Kong affairs. Furthermore, she highlighted that the legislation on Article 23 of the Basic Law is guided by the principle of respecting and protecting human rights, safeguarding the rights and freedoms of Hong Kong residents as stipulated in the Basic Law and relevant international covenants.

Mao also emphasized the distinction between activities that pose a threat to national security and normal commercial exchanges and endeavours in the realms of economy, culture, and science and technology. Foreign institutions and personnel in the HKSAR will continue to be safeguarded within the boundaries of the law.

In addition, Mao pointed out that the U.K.’s National Security Act, enacted last year, contains provisions with ambiguous definitions and grants law enforcement agencies broad powers that can potentially be misused.

“We urge the U.K. to adopt a more appropriate mindset, acknowledge the fact that Hong Kong has already reverted to Chinese sovereignty, refrain from interfering in Hong Kong affairs, reflect upon its actions, and abandon double standards,” Mao concluded.