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Ambassador Liu Xiaoming Holds an On-line Press Conference on Law on Safeguarding National Security in HKSAR

On 6 July 2020, H.E. Ambassador Liu Xiaoming held an on-line press conference at the Chinese Embassy on Law on Safeguarding National Security in HKSAR.

Some 50 journalists from 33 media agencies attended, including BBC, BBC Radio 4, Sky News, Channel 4, ITV, Financial Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Times, The Guardian, The Economist, Reuters, Xinhua News Agency, People's Daily, CCTV, CGTN, CRI, China News Service, China Daily, AP, Bloomberg, NBC, CBS, AFP, RT, CBC, Phoenix Infonews, China South Morning Post, European Times, UK Chinese Times and UK Chinese Journal. BBC, Sky News, and CGTN broadcast the press conference live.

The following is the transcript of the press conference.

Ambassador Liu: Good morning! Welcome to today’s press conference.

On June 30th, one day before the 23rd anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to China, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress adopted the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in Hong Kong SAR. This law is now added to the list of laws in Annex III of the Basic Law. It would be applied by promulgation in Hong Kong SAR.

This law is an important milestone in the implementation of “One Country, Two Systems”, because it is a powerful support for the steady and sustained implementation of “One Country, Two Systems” and it is a strong safeguard for the rights and freedoms of Hong Kong residents. It is of both practical and historic significance.

After the law was adopted, British media carried massive reports and comments, which, to be frank, are full of misinterpretation, misunderstanding and even distortion.

Today, I want to use this press conference to help the British public understand this law comprehensively, objectively and accurately. I would like to begin by answering the five questions frequently asked by British media.

Question one: Why is the National Security Law for Hong Kong SAR necessary?

National security is the basis and precondition for prosperity and stability in Hong Kong. Article 23 of the Basic Law authorizes Hong Kong SAR to enact laws on safeguarding national security. However, 23 years after Hong Kong’s return, nothing has been done and there is no legal framework or enforcement mechanism in terms of national security in Hong Kong SAR. As a result, the city is left “defenseless” against the anti-China forces seeking chaos and disruptions.

Since the turbulence over the proposed amendment bill in June last year, these forces have openly clamoured for “Hong Kong independence” and “self-determination”. They have taken actions such as beating, smashing, looting, arson, confronting police enforcement with violence, and storming the Legislative Council of Hong Kong SAR. They have even cried for “waging armed revolution to gain independence”. Such activities trampled on rule of law, undermined social stability, hit the economy hard and put national security at serious risk.

The situation has been distressing for the people of Hong Kong. They cried for the chaos to end quickly, for order to be restored and for Hong Kong to walk out of the desperation. In light of such a situation, establishing at the national level a sound legal framework and enforcement mechanism for safeguarding national security in Hong Kong SAR meets people’s aspiration. The National Security Law must be made without delay.

Question two: Does the National Security Law for Hong Kong SAR contravene “One Country, Two Systems”?

The answer is a definite “No”. This law is not only in line with “One Country, Two Systems”. It also ensures the sustained implementation of this policy.

The National Security Law for Hong Kong SAR opens with these words:

This law is enacted for the purpose of “ensuring the resolute, full and faithful implementation of the policy of One Country, Two Systems under which the people of Hong Kong administer Hong Kong with a high degree of autonomy”.

“One Country, Two Systems” is a complete concept. “One Country” is the precondition for “Two Systems”. “Two Systems” is subordinate to and derived from “One Country”. Only when “One Country” is safe and secure can “Two Systems” be safeguarded. What is the meaning of “One Country”? “One Country” not only embodies China’s resumption of the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong. It also means that the Central Government has comprehensive jurisdiction over Hong Kong.

As is in all countries, the Central Government is responsible for upholding national security. Through Article 23 of the Basic Law, the Central Government of China authorizes Hong Kong SAR to enact laws on safeguarding national security. This authorization, however, does not change the nature that such legislative power belongs ultimately to the Central Government. Nor does it prevent the Central Government from establishing a legal framework and enforcement mechanism for safeguarding national security in Hong Kong SAR.

In response to the activities that challenge and harm “One Country, Two Systems”, the National Security Law for Hong Kong SAR was enacted to safeguard the authority of “One Country” for the purpose of upholding and improving, rather than changing, “One Country, Two Systems”.

Question three: Will the National Security Law for Hong Kong SAR impair the high degree of autonomy in the SAR or the rights and freedom of the Hong Kong people?

The answer is again a definite “No”.

The National Security Law fully integrates the comprehensive jurisdiction of the Central Government and the high degree of autonomy enjoyed by Hong Kong SAR.

  • It does not alter the current capitalist system in Hong Kong.
  • It does not change the high degree of autonomy or the legal system in the SAR.
  • And it does not affect Hong Kong’s administrative, legislative or independent judicial power, including that of final adjudication.

This Law clearly stipulates,

“Human rights shall be respected and protected in safeguarding national security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The rights and freedoms, including the freedoms of speech, of the press, of publication, of association, of assembly, of procession and of demonstration, which the residents of the Region enjoy under the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights as applied to Hong Kong, shall be protected in accordance with the law.”

This Law outlined four types of criminal activities that jeopardize national security. They are: secession, subversion, terrorist activities and collusion with a foreign country or with external elements to endanger national security. The Law targets a very few criminals but protects the great majority of Hong Kong people.

That is why, in only eight days, nearly three million Hong Kong people signed the petition in support of the Law. This bears full witness to the overwhelming aspiration of Hong Kong people for stability and security.

Question four: Has China failed to fulfill its international obligations by enacting the National Security Law for Hong Kong SAR?

My answer again is a definite “No”.

This year marks the 75th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations. China was the first country to put its signature on the UN Charter. China is now a member of more than 100 inter-governmental international organisations and signed over 500 multilateral treaties.

  • China has been committed to upholding international law and the basic norms governing international relations.
  • It has faithfully fulfilled its international responsibilities and obligations.
  • It has never withdrawn from international organisations or treaties. Nor does it believe in “us first” at the expense of others. This label is more suited to some other countries.

It is completely wrong to confuse the Sino-British Joint Declaration with “One Country, Two Systems” and accuse China of failing to honour its international obligations.

The “copyright” of “One Country, Two Systems” belongs to Deng Xiaoping. The Chinese Government governs Hong Kong SAR in accordance with the Constitution of China and the Basic Law, not the Joint Declaration.

The policies of “One Country, Two Systems” of the Chinese Government are fully embodied in the Basic law and faithfully implemented. There is no such question that China failed to fulfill its international obligation!

Now let me turn to the fifth question: Who has failed to fulfill its international obligations and who has trampled on the norms governing international relations?

Sovereign equality and non-interference in other countries internal affairs are fundamental principles of international law and basic norms governing international relations. China has never interfered in the internal affairs of other countries, including the UK, and we hope the UK will also abide by this principle.

The UK side knows well that Hong Kong is no longer under its colonial rule, and that Hong Kong has returned to China and is now part of China. The UK has no sovereignty, jurisdiction or right of “supervision” over Hong Kong after the handover.

However, the UK Government keeps making irresponsible remarks on Hong Kong affairs through its so-called “Six-monthly report on Hong Kong”, makes unwarranted accusations against the National Security Law for Hong Kong SAR, and even talks about changing the arrangements for “British National (Overseas)”[ BN(O) ]passport holders in Hong Kong.

These moves constitute a gross interference in China’s internal affairs and openly trample on the basic norms governing international relations. The Chinese side has lodged solemn representation to the UK side to express its grave concern and strong opposition.

I want to emphasize that Hong Kong is part of China. Hong Kong affairs are China’s internal affairs and brook no external interference. One important task of the National Security Law for Hong Kong SAR is to prevent, suppress and punish collusion with a foreign country or with external elements to endanger national security.

No one should underestimate the firm determination of China to safeguard its sovereignty, security and development interests. Attempts to disrupt or obstruct the implementation of the National Security Law for Hong Kong SAR will be met with the strong opposition of 1.4 billion Chinese people. All these attempts are doomed to failure!

Law is the beginning of order. The National Security Law for Hong Kong SAR is the fundamental solution that will end the chaos and restore order in Hong Kong.

I am confident that, under the strong leadership of the Central Government of China, with the concerted efforts of all the Chinese people, including Hong Kong compatriots, and with the strong safeguards of the National Security Law for Hong Kong SAR, Hong Kong will become a safer, better and more prosperous place.

Thank you!

Now I would like to take your questions.

CGTN: China has said it reserves the right to take corresponding measures to the UK's decision to offer citizenship to 3 million Hong Kong residents. Can you give us more details about what those measures would be and when they will be announced? Secondly, if I may, Boris Johnson says that he is still a sinophile but the National Security Law for HK is a clear and serious breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration. How do you think the relations between China and the UK could be saved from deteriorating any further?

Ambassador Liu: I think I already answered your question through my opening remarks. With regard to BNO, with regard to specific moves, you have to ask the British government what they are going to do next. I also said that the relationship between China and the UK, or between any countries, has to be based on the international law and the norms governing international relations. The fundamental principles of international law are sovereign equality and non interference in each other's internal affairs. It was incorporated in the UN charter. It is also included in the Joint Communique on the Agreement on the Exchange of Ambassadors between the UK and China about 40 years ago. This is the basic norms of the relationship.

This year is the 70th year since UK recognized new China. In the past 70 years, we've seen ups and downs in the relationship, but on the whole, the relationship has moved forward. The reason why we have seen downs is because these principles were violated. When we had ups in the relationship, it means these principles were abided by. So when the principles are abided by, we would see the leaps and bounds of the relationship. But when these principles are violated, the relationship will suffer setbacks and even retrogression. Thank you.

BBC: Article 38 in this new law says that it applies even where the individual is neither a Hong Kong resident nor physically in the territory. How does this use of universal jurisdiction fit alongside international law where it's kept normally for the most serious crimes? And how can journalists, activists, and others be sure that they're able to continue exercising their freedom of speech without being prosecuted if they set foot in Hong Kong?

Ambassador Liu: You mentioned Article 38. That is a common practice. Even by British law, those who committed crime, who work against the interest of the UK, they should be accountable no matter where they are. If they conduct activities that endanger national security either inside the UK or outside the UK, they will be held responsible. I don't think there's anything new in the National Security Law in safeguarding Hong Kong security.

With regard to journalists, I think the law is very clear. It outlines the four categories of crime against the national security of China. As long as a journalist abides by the law, you should have nothing to worry about. You will conduct your work. Also as mentioned, human rights are fully respected. That applies not only to Hong Kong residents but also to every resident and every person working and living in Hong Kong. And those human rights include freedom of the press and freedom of speech. So there's nothing to be worried about as long as you abide by law.

Sky News: The UK government is looking again at the decision of allowing Huawei into the UK network. They are actually going to make a U-turn on the decision on Huawei and not allow Huawei anymore into the 5G network. What impact would that have on UK-China relations? If I may, you said that China does not interfere with UK affairs, and yet some people would disagree with that and say that China is actually conducting subversive activity, trying to influence elements of UK politicians, academia and even business to further its influence and interests. How do you respond to that?

Ambassador Liu: I would totally reject any accusation of China interfering into UK’s internal affairs. I’ve been ambassador here for more than 10 years, and I never came across any incident that we’ve been accused by UK government or any institutions with hard evidence of China’s interference into UK’s internal affairs. If you have evidence, please show me. But do not make disinformation and false accusation against China. As I said in my opening remarks, China has been fully committed to basic norms governing international relations and that has been our consistent policy.

With regard to Huawei, I wrote many articles and made many speeches on Huawei. I don’t think we have enough time to talk about that. So I want to be brief on Huawei. Huawei is a win-win example of China-UK collaboration. We believe that to embrace Huawei, to include Huawei, is not only in the interest of China. I think it’s also in the fundamental interest of the UK. The British government has its ambitious plan of 5G full coverage of the UK by 2025. I think Huawei can do the job. But if the UK chooses to pay a higher price for less qualified products, it’s up to you. I always say that we have to work for the best and prepare for the worst. Huawei has operations in 170 countries and no country has evidence that they have back doors. They have been very transparent. They set up the center for analyzing their products that is completely managed by British people, not people from Huawei. They have confidence. Throughout the world, can you give me the name of another company that sets up a center for itself to be examined by the host country? No. So they have nothing to fear. If you do not want Huawei, it’s up to you. I always say when one door shuts, the other door opens. In China, we have a saying when the west turns dark, the east will be brighter. I heard a lot of fuss and noises about Huawei, but we have nothing to fear. I told our business community here, you have to be more confident; once you have good products, you should not worry that they don’t have the market. I think the world is big enough to accommodate Huawei. I really believe that having Huawei is a real win-win situation, not only for Huawei but also for the UK. But of course, at the end of the day, it’s up to the British government. We have tried our best to tell the story of Huawei, but we cannot control the British government’s decision. I heard there are a lot of speculations. We are ready for any scenario and consequences. I think Huawei will survive and prosper. The more pressure from the so called superpower and its allies, the stronger Huawei will grow. That is my belief.

Bloomberg: Thank you, Ambassador. Just a very brief follow-up on the Huawei question. The decision taken by the UK government is quite clear that it will be based on security concerns, rather than the commercial relations you bear in mind. And it is also quite clear that the United States is concerned about Huawei’s security. What you are saying is that China doesn’t see it as a security issue at all, and that it wouldn’t be concerned at the political level that the UK will make such a decision.

Ambassador Liu: I think it’s up to the UK to make the final decision. In terms of security, I think Huawei has done their best to address the concern of security. When you talk about security, are you talking about security from the political perspective? There are many kinds of security. One is about the telecommunication, whether the technology is safe enough and resilient enough to protect you, not only from the so-called states, but also from some individual hackers or other companies. So you cannot generalize security. But Huawei has made every effort to address security concerns and tried to improve their technology. Analysis of intelligence agencies said the risks are manageable and the technology in general is safe. That’s why the UK government made the decision to include Huawei, though they have a 35% cap. If it is decided to give up Huawei, it’s up to them. As I said, the world is big enough to accomodate Huawei. They have operations in 170 countries. If the UK gives up, they still have 169 countries. I tried to encourage people from Huawei to look forward. First, you have to work and convince the UK partners and UK people, government and business that you have the best technologies and your price is most competitive, and you are addressing their concern by keeping improving your technologies. You are the leader. But if they decide not to choose you, it’s up to them. You still have to develop. Huawei has been developing despite so many measures. I have full confidence in them.

So you mentioned security, this is also the point I want to make. When some British politicians mention Huawei, they link Huawei to UK’s relations with China. Some of them regard China as a threat, even as a hostile country. I think that is totally wrong. That is inconsistent with the consensus reached by the two leaders of our two countries. When President Xi was here, many people talked about the “golden era”, but they have no idea what the “golden era” is about. Actually the “golden era” was proposed by the British side, was proposed by the British leader. We think that it is in the interest of the two countries, then we agreed with this creation of relationship as a “golden era”. But if you do not want the “golden era”, if you treat China as an enemy, that is completely wrong and not in your interest. That reminds me of Brzezinski, American strategist who helped to normalize the relationship between China and the US. Dr. Brzezinski had a very fine line by saying: If we make China an enemy, China will become an enemy. So we want to be your friends and partners. But if you want to make China a hostile country, you have to bear the consequences. Thank you.

The Times: I want to know whether there will be any attempts to prevent Hong Kong holders of British National (Overseas) status from taking Britain’s offer to come to UK.

Ambassador Liu: We have heard quite a lot of talk about revoking British position on BNO. When we reached the agreement in 1984, British government promised, in the exchange of MOU, that they would not give citizenship to BNO holders in Hong Kong. But now they have decided to revoke their position, which we regard it as a walk-away from their international obligations. People talk about China’s responses. Our first response is that we criticize the British move. We don’t think they have honoured their commitment. Secondly, we think it is an interference in China’s internal affairs and a political manipulation against the National Security Law. Thirdly, we will have to wait and see, and have to decide our counter measures in accordance with the actual actions to be taken by the British side.

The Economist: Ambassador, can I ask you please to elaborate on what the consequences for the UK in response to its position on Hong Kong? For example, do you foresee consequences for British companies operating in the Chinese market, for bilateral trade and in what sectors in particular? Do you see risks for British banks or for companies serving consumer industries to operate in China? Thank you.

Ambassador Liu: As I said in my opening remarks, relationship between states has to be based on basic principles, including respect for each other, respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs and respect for the core interests and major concerns of each other. That has been reaffirmed by our top leaders. During the pandemic, President Xi and Prime Minister Johnson had two telephone conversations. They both reaffirmed their commitment to these basic principles. But once you have these principles violated, there will certainly be consequences for the relationship. The mutual trust will be weakened. The confidence will be weakened. But with regard to specific consequences in specific areas, we have to wait and see. We do hope that the UK side will stand by the fundamental interests between China and the UK. We should bear in mind the big picture of the fundamental interests of the relationship. Thank you.

Xinhua News Agency: A recent survey found that the number of the Chinese students who would choose UK as the first country to study abroad has for the first time overtaken that of the US. Will China's attitude and policy regarding Chinese students studying in UK change if the Sino-UK relations are further dented by political differences?

Ambassador Liu: We certainly would like to say that normal relations between China and the UK will move forward, including the exchanges of the students. I also read some reports. Because of what is going on in the US, there is more demand from Chinese students to study in UK. We welcome this and encourage more students to come here. The education section of the Embassy has been very busy, in providing information and answering questions and inquiries from Chinese students. We help them to get in touch with various universities. Right now, I have not seen any negative consequences on educational cooperation. We have 200,000 Chinese students studying in the UK. During the pandemic, I wrote letters to presidents or vice chancellors of 154 universities which host Chinese students. In addition to asking them to take good care of Chinese students, I also expressed my commitment to stronger relationship between China and their respective universities.

Reuters: We’ve got some Brits looking again into Huawei. The British government is talking about introducing new laws about foreign takeover and acquisition, which is believed to be specifically aimed at Chinese firms. You spoke earlier about the ‘Golden Era’. From China’s point of view, is the ‘Golden Era’ over between the two countries?If it isn’t, what does Britain need to do to keep it going?

Ambassador Liu: Golden Era was an idea proposed by the UK side and endorsed by both sides. Whether it's over or not -- I certainly hope not -- but whether it’s over or not is not up to Chinese side. I think, during the pandemic, we still heard the British leaders express their commitments to the “Golden Era”. You know, I always say, for any kind of relationship, you need two to tango, you need two hands to clap. So I do hope that our relationship will develop further and will enjoy steady growth in the best interests of the two countries. But, as I said, it's up to both sides. We have every reason to have a good relationship with the UK, and we regard UK as a partner. We never use the words that ‘UK is potentially a hostile country’. You’ve never heard this word from any Chinese leader or any Chinese official. So I really want to remind the British leaders, British officials, they have to be careful with regard to how to characterize the nature of the relationship.

The Guardian: Ambassador, you mentioned that the Security Law is very popular in Hong Kong. You said that three million people have signed the petition. But you know, in the district elections last year, we've seen pro-democracy movements doing very well. Can you guarantee the election this autumn will be held on the same basis as the ones that were held, and will increase the special freedom to stand and freedom to campaign?

Ambassador Liu: We have a different interpretation of what was going on in Hong Kong. You regard it as a pro-democracy movement. But we think they are violence, riots and law-breaking activities, even terrorism. When people storm the UK parliament, I don't think you would regard them as a pro-democracy movement. We’ve seen so many things happening in the streets of London in the past few weeks. I never read that the British media described them as a pro- democracy movement. You regard them as law-breakers and rioters. But why, when it comes to Hong Kong, you have a different standard? So I think it’s totally double-standard approach. And with regard to the election in September, I think the election will be conducted in accordance with law in Hong Kong. And, you know, when we talk about National Security Law, it will be implemented according to law. As I said, this Law has incorporated fully both the comprehensive jurisdiction of central government and high degree of autonomy of Hong Kong. So Hong Kong people will administer their affairs. Nothing has changed as long as you do not violate the National Security Law. Hong Kong's social system, legislative system and legal system will all remain unchanged. Nothing has been altered. You should have confidence in Hong Kong.

Daily Telegraph: Morning, Mr. Ambassador. I am reporting on retaliatory measures if the UK pressed ahead with a plan on passports and residents back to the UK, but we are short of detail. Can you offer any detail on what measures might be taken? Can I also ask you another issue? Ofcom today will severely criticize CGTN over its broadcast involving of a Briton, Peter Humphrey, saying he was forced to confess on air while under duress, can you offer a comment on that please?

Ambassador Liu: On the BNO, I think I answered previous questions. My answer will be the same. We have made our position clear to the British side. We hope that they will reconsider their position. With regard to what the response China is going to make, we have to wait and see what will be the specific actions from the British side.

With regard to CGTN, I think they already made a rebuttal to the accusation of Humphrey. It is totally not based on fact. And I think they have made their position very clear. Thank you.

NBC: Thank you very much, Mr. Ambassador. You talked about how this new National Security Law doesn't violate the decades-old policy of “One Country, Two Systems” but the spirit of that agreement on “One Country, Two Systems” allows a great deal of political freedom and freedom of expression in Hong Kong. There are reports this morning that books are being removed from public libraries written by activists. There have been activists -- you've described them as rioters and terrorists -- who have been detained. So my question is, is this the end of freedom of expression as people have known it in Hong Kong for the last several decades?

Ambassador Liu: Not at all. Hong Kong people will be protected for the freedom of speech, freedom of press. You mentioned about some of the books. It really depends on what the book is about. If a book is aimed at inciting secession and subversion, that will be tantamount to a kind of crime. You'll have to read the National Security Law carefully. In UK, there are many laws governing national security. If you voice opinion in support of terrorism and hatred, that can be regarded as an act of a crime. Why can UK have this law but China cannot have a National Security Law to punish those who incite secession and subversion, who incite actions that endanger the national security. I think this is a common practice. When you talk about freedom of speech and freedom of the press, I think, as I said, this law will protect the majority, great majority, of Hong Kong people to exercise their rights of freedom of the press, freedom of procession, freedom of demonstration. But you can't do things to endanger national security. It's only four categories of crime. There is a boundary. Even with regard to the freedom of expression, freedom of speech, protected by the International Covenant, there is also limit. You can't do this at the expense of national security and public order. It's clearly stipulated. I do recommend you to go back to read these Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, an international document. So people have nothing to worry about. As long as they abide by the National Security Law, as long as they do not cross the line prohibited by the National Security Law, they should be a hundred percent free. They should have nothing to fear.

So that's the problem, British media, and American media too, have what I would call scaremongering practice. They demonise this law. That's totally wrong. They don't read the law carefully. There are four categories of crime. They have been very carefully stipulated in a very detailed way. As long as you do not cross the boundary, as long as you exercise your rights within the limits protected by the Constitution, by the Basic Law, by the International Covenant, you should have no problem at all. Thank you.

Financial Times: Thanks very much Ambassador. A lot of British businesses in mainland China and Hong Kong are worried about the law. What will happen if the Hong Kong police request to use their data or system and they refuse?

Ambassador Liu: Hong Kong Police will carry out National Security Law in accordance with law. National Security Law has made it very clear that the law enforcement people, including police, including the people working in the national security office based in Hong Kong, have to abide by the law in China and the also the law in Hong Kong. The police enforcement people will carry out the National Security Law in accordance with all laws on the ground. Thank you.

RT: Thank you, Mr. Ambassador. The Boris Johnson government is looking to give millions of HongKongers citizenship to escape Chinese laws. Why is the UK so ready to give citizenship to Hong Kong as a former British colony but not to other former British colonies, such as Iraq which suffered an illegal war that thousands fled.

Ambassador Liu: Firstly, some of the politicians in UK still have a very strong colonial mindset. They fail to recognise that Hong Kong is no more under British colonial rule, Hong Kong has been returned to China long since 23 years ago. That's their problem. That's why they have this passion. They still regard Hong Kong as under British colonial rule, try to make irresponsible remarks, and try to interfere in Hong Kong affairs. But that's totally wrong. They fail to realise that Hong Kong is now part of China.

Secondly, they fail to realise that stability and prosperity of Hong Kong is not only in the interest of China. It’s also in the interest of the UK. The UK has 300,000 citizens living in Hong Kong and more than 700 businesses there. So prosperity and stability of Hong Kong is in their best interest. That's why, I am talking about 3 million people in Hong Kong signed a petition to support the National Security Law, including major British business people from HSBC, Swire, Jardines and Standard Chartered. But those politicians try to criticise them. That's wrong because that stability and prosperity in Hong Kong is in their interest. You can't do business or live a normal life without a peaceful environment. Look at what happened last year. People did not even dare to walk in the streets under this so called “Black Terror”. People cry for chaos to end as quickly as possible. That gives birth to the National Security Law.

Channel 4: Thank you, Ambassador. Can I just get back to the issue of Huawei? What are the consequences for Britain if Huawei is removed from 5G? And would you consider that a hostile act?

Ambassador Liu: The consequences, there might be many. First, it damages Britain’s image as an open, business-friendly, free and transparent environment as it claims to be. So that’s why in the past 5 years, the Chinese investment in the UK is bigger than the Chinese investment in the previous 30 years. Because Chinese business people believe the UK is business-friendly, and they can do business here. But if you get rid of Huawei, it would send out a very wrong message. It would tarnish Britain’s image as a free trade country. That’s number one.

Number two, it will tarnish your image as a country which follows independent policies. It means you have succumbed to foreign pressure. You can’t make your own independent foreign policy. I always say, Britain can only be Great when you have your independent foreign policy. If you do not have an independent foreign policy and you have to dance to the tune of another country, how could you claim to be a Great Britain?

Thirdly, I think it will also send out a very bad message to the Chinese business community here. They are all watching how you handle Huawei. If you get rid of Huawei, it will send out a very bad message for other Chinese businesses. It will also send out a very bad message for other foreign businesses.

Fourthly, there is also an element of trust. When you have a sound relationship, it has to be built on mutual respect and mutual trust. In China, we have a saying: You can’t make your policy in the morning and then change it in the evening. How could people trust you? So I think it’s a matter of trust here. I do hope that the British government will make decisions in the best interest -- not only in the interest of China-UK cooperation -- but also in the interest of itself. Thank you.

China Daily: Thank you, Ambassador. Some people think the National Security Law in Hong Kong will also help protect British investments and their legal rights in Hong Kong. Mr. Ambassador, what is your opinion?

Ambassador Liu: Absolutely. I think I have answered your question in my previous remarks. You can only do business in a stable and peaceful environment. So that’s why the National Security Law is welcomed, not only by the ordinary people who are very concerned about their security, but also by the business communities, not only British businesses but also many other businesses. There is a report that the American Chamber of Commerce expressed their confidence in Hong Kong. That is because the National Security Law can guarantee a business environment for people including the British. So I do hope the British public, including the British media, should approach the National Security Law from an objective, correct and accurate perspective. Do not try to demonize this law. This law will provide a guarantee and a protector for safety and prosperity of Hong Kong. As I said in my opening remarks, with the safeguard of the National Security Law, Hong Kong will become a safer, better and more prosperous place. Thank you.

Thank you for your attention and thank you for attending today’s press conference.

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