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Home > Press and Media Service > Embassy Spokesperson's Remarks
Embassy Spokesperson's Remarks on Chris Patten's Statement
2020/05/26

Question: A few days ago, former Hong Kong Governor Chris Patten and some Western politicians issued a joint statement, expressing concerns on national security legislation for Hong Kong. What is the comment of the Chinese Embassy in the UK?

Embassy Spokesperson: After the third session of the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC) of China announced that it will deliberate on the draft decision to establish a sound legal framework and enforcement mechanism for safeguarding national security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), some British politicians, such as Chris Patten, colluded with politicians from other Western countries to distort and discredit this legislative process and interfere in China’s internal affairs openly by making irresponsible remarks on Hong Kong. The Chinese side opposes this strongly. I want to emphasize the following points:

First, Hong Kong affairs are China’s internal affairs and brook no external interference. Non-interference in other country’s internal affairs, as a basic principle of international law and basic norm of modern international relations, must be observed by all countries.

Second, the Central Government is responsible for upholding national security in China, as is the case in any other country, including the UK. Through Article 23 of the Basic Law, the Central Government authorizes the Hong Kong SAR to fulfill its constitutional duty by enacting laws on its own. The authorization, however, does not prevent the Central Government from developing a legal system and enforcement mechanism for safeguarding national security in light of the actual situation and needs. The Central Government assumes the primary and ultimate responsibility for national security in all sub-national administrative regions. This is the basic theory and principle underpinning national sovereignty and the common practice in countries around the world. The legislation on national security will make Hong Kong a safer, better and more prosperous place.

Third, safeguarding national security is a core element of “One Country, Two Systems”. It is also the precondition for this policy to succeed. The relevant legislation on national security in the Hong Kong SAR is aimed at better implementing “One Country, Two Systems”. In recent years, especially since the turbulence over the proposed legislative amendments last year, we have seen increasingly rampant activities by “Hong Kong independence” organizations and radical and separatist forces as well as escalating violence and terrorist activities. Some foreign forces, colluding with the anti-China forces seeking to disrupt Hong Kong, are using Hong Kong as a base for undermining China’s national security, and severely challenging the bottom line of “One Country, Two Systems”. By establishing a sound legal framework and enforcement mechanism for safeguarding national security in the Hong Kong SAR in accordance with the Constitution and the Basic Law of the Hong Kong SAR, the NPC is taking an essential measure to uphold national sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity and consolidate the foundation of “One Country, Two Systems”. Only when national security is safeguarded can “One Country, Two Systems” succeed, which will in turn ensure prosperity and stability in Hong Kong.

Fourth, the NPC decision targets a very narrow category of acts that seriously jeopardize national security and has no impact on the legitimate rights and freedom of Hong Kong residents. On the contrary, it will ensure a safe environment in which the legitimate rights and freedom of Hong Kong residents will be better safeguarded. This will improve Hong Kong’s legal system and bring more stability, stronger rule of law and a better business environment to Hong Kong. It will protect Hong Kong’s position as a global financial, trading and shipping centre and safeguard the legitimate rights, interests and freedom of Hong Kong residents. It also serves the common interests of the international community and foreign investors in Hong Kong.

Fifth, the allegation that the NPC decision is a “flagrant breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration” is a false proposition. China and the UK signed the Joint Declaration to address the issue of the handover of Hong Kong to China. The Joint Declaration has eight paragraphs with a total of 1,137 words and three annexes. Not a single word or paragraph gives the UK any responsibility over Hong Kong after its handover. The UK has no sovereignty, jurisdiction or right of “supervision” over Hong Kong after its handover. Sino-British Joint Declaration should not be used as an excuse to interfere in Hong Kong affairs, which are China’s internal affairs.

I want to add that the Chinese Government remains unwavering in its determination to safeguard China’s national sovereignty, security and development interests, to implement “One Country, Two Systems” and to oppose any interference from external forces in Hong Kong affairs. We urge those Western politicians to wake up from their old colonial dream and abandon the Cold-War mentality. Rooting for anti-China elements seeking to disrupt Hong Kong and interfering in Hong Kong affairs and China’s internal affairs will only be self-defeating.

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