Hong Kong hits back at UK call for security law to be scrapped

By James Pomfret

Hong Kong authorities on Friday condemned a British government call for the removal of a China-imposed national security law that Britain said had been used to persecute, "silence and discredit" pro-democracy opposition figures.

Britain's Foreign Secretary James Cleverly wrote in his government's latest six-monthly report on Hong Kong that he had highlighted at a U.N. hearing in February how Hong Kong authorities had used the security law to crack down on opposition figures, many of whom are in jail or have been forced into exile.

Cleverly called on Beijing to implement recommendations made in an independent U.N. Human Rights Council report last July, including "removing the National Security Law" that Beijing imposed on the former British colony in 2020.

Hong Kong authorities said in a statement that they "vehemently refuted, strongly disapproved and firmly rejected the slandering remarks and ill-intentioned political attacks".

A Hong Kong government spokesman said Britain should "stop interfering in Hong Kong matters, which are purely China's internal affairs".

The spokesman said Hong Kong's security law had brought stability after mass pro-democracy protests in 2019, and that while Hong Kong laws guaranteed certain individual rights, "such rights and freedoms are not absolute" when it comes to safeguarding national security.

Britain referred in its report to the erosion of Hong Kong's rule of law, including transferring "powers once vested in the judiciary" to Hong Kong's pro-China leader, and the inability of those facing national security charges to challenge government decisions in the courts.

"We have stood with our partners in condemning the steady erosion of civil and political rights and Hong Kong's autonomy," Cleverly wrote in a foreword to the report.

Among those who have been persecuted, Cleverly referred to jailed media tycoon Jimmy Lai, who faces a national security trial in September, and said he had raised Lai's case with Chinese Vice President Han Zheng this month.

The 75-year-old Lai founded the pro-democracy Apple Daily newspaper that police raided and shut down in 2021.

Britain handed Hong Kong back to China in 1997 under an agreement guaranteeing its freedoms for at least 50 years.

While relations between London and Beijing have been strained since Beijing imposed the national security law, a senior British official visited Hong Kong this month, the first such visit in five years.

© Thomson Reuters 2023.

©2023 GPlusMedia Inc.

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No matter how much the CCP and its cronies in the Hong Kong "government" [sic] try to spin it with their lies, the Sino-British Joint Declaration is still in effect. China is, as ever, violating the legal commitments it made.

The people of HK were supposed to get fifty years before the CCP's talons ripped their city apart. They got less than half of that.

Glory to Hong Kong.

13 ( +18 / -5 )

while Hong Kong laws guaranteed certain individual rights, "such rights and freedoms are not absolute" when it comes to safeguarding national security.

And China gets to decide what safeguarding national security is so the "certain individual rights" guaranteed are meagre and mostly subsumed to the interests of the party. Sorry, try again.

13 ( +16 / -3 )

Of course it should be scrapped under the principles of One Country, Two Systems.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

British Empire was built by international drug traffickers, slave traders and ruthless colonial exploitation. HK was seized after the First Opium War.

The PRC also promised to maintain Hong Kong's way of life for 50 years. Just more Chinese lies.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

Megaphone diplomacy from the UK.

-13 ( +2 / -15 )

Everybody knows China is not to be trusted. Their words are deceitful while their actions cant hide the truth. Broken agreement with the UK and with the people of Hong Kong.

Disengage from China is what the world needs to do. The sooner the better. It is already happening, but to slowly. China has become an evil nation under its current Emperor for life, Jinping Xi.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Britain and the CCP are both terrible. Hong Kong is a mess because of Britain first, and Communist China now. The only reason anyone ever goes to Hong Kong anymore is in transit on their way to Macau. Portugal and China handled Macau much better than Hong Kong was handled. Apple Daily was a rag, at best. It shouldn't be referred to as a newspaper. China did the right thing shutting it down. They also did the right thing by letting Cantopop continue. Hong Kong blessed the world with Andy Lau and other talented musicians who are enjoyed by Chinese, British, and educated Japanese.

-15 ( +1 / -16 )

China did the right thing shutting it down.

Nobody should applaud a newspaper being shut down for despicable "national security" reasons.

Hong Kong is a mess because of Britain first

Seems like you are ignoring that Hong Kong became one of the Asian Tigers under Britain. What has the CCP accomplished except killing it off?

4 ( +9 / -5 )

HK economy in a nutshell:

world's 35th-largest economy, with a nominal GDP of approximately US$373 billion.

ranks fourth on the UN Human Development Index.

stock exchange 7th largest, market capitalisation US$3.87 trillion.

local currency is the eighth most traded currency in the world.

ninth and eight-largest trading entity in exports and imports respectively

world's seventh-busiest container port and the busiest airport for international cargo.

second-highest number of corporate headquarters in the Asia-Pacific region.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

Peter14,define evil ,is it some ominipresent being cast over the people of HK ,or being oppressed by a sociopath

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Hong Kong is now only in our memories!

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Hong Kong suppresses any opposition to the authorities; has no independent judiciary and locks up advocates of democracy. It is a sick, totalitarian police state where there is no freedom.

Hong Kong : the sewer of Communist China

4 ( +8 / -4 )

The empire has sunset quite a long long time !

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

There is no Hong Kong anymore.

Just fascist china.

Run by a dictator so scared of the Pooh Bear cartoon character they had to ban it.....

6 ( +7 / -1 )

A Hong Kong government spokesman said Britain should "stop interfering in Hong Kong matters, which are purely China's internal affairs".

Didn't China sign an agreement to leave Hong Kong alone for 50 yrs - 1 country, 2 systems? Every thing they've changed against the people of Hong Kong just provides them to be liars. The national security law which makes dissent against the current CCP illegal is just 1 example. There are many, many, others ...

All the rest of the world can do is to call the new HK leaders liars, Beijing leaders liars, and point out to the world how they have violated agreements. Additionally, allowing people from the SARs to migrate is a good sign. Let the mainland Chinese have HK and destroy it further. We'll never visit again and will strive to never do business with any Chinese - preferring Taiwanese for business partners with the true China.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Nothing against 99% of Chinese people. The CCP-Govt is the problem and the 1% control the other 99% there. Unfortunately, supporting regular Chinese businesses supports the govt. That needs to be avoided.

The CCP-govt is actively sponsoring espionage against all other countries. Actively allowing dangerous components for drugs to be shipped elsewhere. If anything happens in China, it has approval from the CCP, even if it is technically illegal. Some CCP member is getting their "cut" of the illegal profits.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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