HK government rebukes “Hong Kong Watch” briefing, asserts sovereignty and national security commitment

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21st May 2024 – (Hong Kong) The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government has issued a strong condemnation of a recent briefing by “Hong Kong Watch,” a group it labels as anti-China. The briefing, which criticised the legislation of Article 23 of the Basic Law, falsely accused the HKSAR Government and called for the UK to impose sanctions on its officials. The HKSAR Government described these actions as a manipulation aimed at intimidating officials dedicated to national security.

A government spokesman denounced the suggested sanctions as a violation of international norms and an interference in both China’s and Hong Kong’s internal affairs. “These so-called ‘sanctions’ represent nothing more than despicable political intimidation. We stand resolute in our mission to safeguard national security, undeterred by such tactics,” the spokesman stated.

The spokesman further emphasised that Hong Kong is an integral part of China and operates under the “one country, two systems” principle, which affords it a high degree of autonomy while remaining under the direct jurisdiction of the Central People’s Government. According to the spokesman, the Sino-British Joint Declaration primarily acknowledged China’s sovereignty over Hong Kong and did not grant the UK any rights over Hong Kong post-handover.

Addressing concerns about human rights, the government reiterated its commitment to protecting the rights and freedoms of Hong Kong residents under the Basic Law and the applicable international covenants. However, it noted that rights and freedoms are subject to lawful restrictions necessary for national security and public order.

Following the enactment of the Safeguarding National Security Ordinance, the government believes it has significantly strengthened its legal framework to protect against threats to national security. “This legislation acts as a robust safeguard, ensuring our city’s safety against external threats,” the spokesman added.

The government also urged organizations like “Hong Kong Watch” to cease their biased and misleading statements and respect Hong Kong’s legal and political processes. “Our law enforcement will continue to operate impartially, focusing solely on evidence without regard to political affiliations. We will persist in our efforts to ensure national security and promote the stability and prosperity of Hong Kong,” the spokesman concluded.