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Home > Press and Media Service > Embassy Spokesperson's Remarks
Chinese Embassy Spokesperson's Remarks regarding the Hong Kong-related Statement by Foreign Ministers of the UK, the US, Australia and Canada
2020/05/29

Question: Foreign Ministers of the UK, the US, Australia and Canada issued a joint statement, expressing concerns on the national security legislation for Hong Kong. What is the comment of the Chinese Embassy in the UK?

Embassy Spokesperson: On May 28th, the third session of the 13th National People's Congress of China adopted the decision to establish a sound legal framework and enforcement mechanism for safeguarding national security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR). The "joint statement" issued afterwards by US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne and Canadian Foreign Minister Fran├žois-Philippe Champagne was an irresponsible comment on the legislation and a flagrant interference in Hong Kong affairs, which are China's internal affairs. The Chinese side expresses grave concern and strong opposition. I would like to reiterate the following points:

First, Hong Kong affairs brook no external interference. Non-interference in other country's internal affairs is a basic principle of international law and a basic norm governing modern international relations, which must be observed by all countries. Hong Kong was returned to China on 1 July 1997 and has since then been a special administrative region of China. The national security legislation for the Hong Kong SAR is purely China's internal affair, which no foreign country has the right to interfere in. As for the Sino-British Joint Declaration, I must point out that its ultimate goal and core content were to ensure the handover of Hong Kong to China. Not a single word or paragraph in the Joint Declaration gives the UK any responsibility 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.

Second, the decision on national security legislation by the NPC is timely and necessary. In recent years, national security in the Hong Kong SAR has faced increasing risks. In particular, since the turbulence over the proposed legislative amendments last year, there have been increasingly rampant activities by the "Hong Kong independence" elements, and radical and separatist forces, as well as escalating violence and terrorist activities. These elements and forces have carried out separatist activities that threaten national unity, undermined social order intentionally, confronted the police enforcement with violence, damaged public facilities and property, and paralyzed government administration and the operation of the Legislative Council. Some external 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. These activities severely challenged the bottom line of "One Country, Two Systems", and gravely undermined China's sovereignty, security and development interests. What these facts expose is an apparent legal loophole in safeguarding national security in the Hong Kong SAR. Establishing, at the national level, a sound legal framework and enforcement mechanism for safeguarding national security in the Hong Kong SAR is something that must be done and done quickly.

Third, as is in all countries, it is the central government that is responsible for upholding national security. Making laws on national security falls within the legislative power of the nation. Neither the UK nor China is an exception. Through Article 23 of the Basic Law, the Central Government of China authorizes the Hong Kong SAR to enact laws on safeguarding national security. This authorization, however, does not change the nature that such legislative power belongs to the Central Government. Nor does it deprive the Central Government of its due responsibility and right to safeguard national security. Twenty-three years after Hong Kong's return, Article 23 of the Basic Law is yet to materialize and has been severely stigmatized and demonized, leaving the Hong Kong SAR "defenseless" in terms of national security. In view of the grave situation with regard to national security in the Hong Kong SAR and the SAR's inability to enact laws on safeguarding national security by itself, it is the right and responsibility of the NPC, as the highest organ of state power in China, to plug this loophole that compromises national security in Hong Kong through legislation in accordance with the Constitution and the Basic Law. This is completely reasonable and justified.

Fourth, safeguarding national security is a core element of "One Country, Two Systems". It is also the precondition for this policy to succeed. The Chinese Government remains firmly committed to implementing the "One Country, Two Systems" principle faithfully. I must emphasize that "One Country, Two Systems" is a complete concept. "One Country" is the precondition and basis for "Two Systems". "Two Systems" is subordinate to and derived from "One Country". Anti-China forces seeking to disrupt Hong Kong has taken "Two Systems" as an excuse to harm "One Country"; and external forces have also taken "Two Systems" as an excuse to interfere in Hong Kong affairs and endanger China's sovereignty and national security. These have all undermined gravely the "One Country, Two Systems" policy. The NPC decision, on the contrary, is in line with "One Country, Two Systems" policy. It will improve the institutions and mechanisms that are essential to the implementation of the Constitution and the Basic Law in the Hong Kong SAR and ensure the steady and sustained development of "One Country, Two Systems".

Fifth, the NPC decision helps safeguard the high degree of autonomy in the Hong Kong SAR and the rights and freedom of the Hong Kong residents. Since the handover of Hong Kong, the policies of "One Country, Two Systems", "Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong" and a high degree of autonomy have been implemented faithfully. Hong Kong residents now enjoy unprecedented rights and freedom. However, no right or freedom is absolute. They must be exercised within the limits of laws. Both the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights stipulate clearly that the basic rights and freedom of the people should subject to restrictions aimed at protecting national security. The NPC decision answers the call of Hong Kong residents for better safeguards so that they can enjoy and exercise their statutory rights and freedom, and their aspiration for a safer, better and more prosperous Hong Kong.

We urge the relevant countries to accept the fact that Hong Kong is now part of China, observe the principle of non-interference in other country's internal affairs, respect the decision of China's NPC, stop meddling in Hong Kong affairs, and stop interfering in China's internal affairs.

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