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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson's Comment on the British side's remarks on Hong Kong

1 July

Q: British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said in a statement that recent social activities in Hong Kong made it even more important to reiterate Britain's commitment to the Sino-British Joint Declaration. The statement also said that this document is a legally-binding treaty and remains valid today. What's your response?

A: We have repeatedly stated our position on this matter. Let me reiterate, the Joint Declaration resolved the Hong Kong issue, which was left over by history. As Hong Kong returned to the motherland and work relating to the transitional period came to an end, the rights and obligations of the British side under the declaration were completely fulfilled. On July 1, 1997, China resumed sovereignty over Hong Kong and the Chinese government started administering it in accordance with the Constitution and the Basic Law. The UK no longer has any responsibility for Hong Kong. Hong Kong affairs are purely China's internal affairs that brook no foreign interference.

I would also like to stress that China deplores and strongly rejects the frequent British interference in and criticism of Hong Kong affairs. We advise the UK to know its place, stop meddling in Hong Kong affairs in any form and do more for its prosperity and stability rather than the opposite.

2 July

Q: British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt tweeted on Hong Kong protesters' storming the Legislative Council, stressing the UK's unwavering support for Hong Kong and its freedoms. He also said that no violence is acceptable, but Hong Kong people must preserve the legal right to peaceful protest. Would you like to comment on that?

A: Lately China has made clear its position to the UK on the Hong Kong SAR government's legislative amendment. We repeatedly lodged stern representations with the British side. However, in total disregard of China's concerns, the UK has frequently and flagrantly interfered in China's internal affairs with wanton criticism. We deplore and firmly oppose that.

Hong Kong is China's special administrative region and its affairs are purely China's internal affairs that brook no interference from any country, organization or individual. China's determined to safeguard sovereignty, national security and development interests. We are determined to uphold prosperity and stability in Hong Kong. We are determined to reject foreign interference. We urge the UK to reflect upon its erroneous words and deeds and stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs and China's domestic affairs in any form.

3 July

Q:  British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt took an interview on July 2. He said that the Sino-British Joint Declaration remains legally binding. There will be serious consequences if it is not honored. The UK stands behind people in Hong Kong in defence of the freedoms that Britain negotiated for them. He expects all countries to honour their international obligations. The Hong Kong authorities must not use demonstrators' vandalism as a pretext for repression. What's your comment?

A: I have commented on Mr. Hunt's remarks on Hong Kong for two days straight. China deplores and firmly opposes those remarks. It seems that he is still immersed in the faded glory of colonialism. He is obsessed with condescendingly criticizing other countries. He keeps lying without remorse. Here I will say a few more words.

First, after Hong Kong's return to China, British rights and obligations as outlined in the Sino-British Joint Declaration were completed. On July 1, 1997, China resumed sovereignty over Hong Kong. The Chinese Government started exercising jurisdiction over Hong Kong in accordance with the Constitution and the Basic Law of Hong Kong SAR.

The UK has no sovereignty or rights to rule and supervise Hong Kong after the handover. There is no room for Britain to claim any so-called responsibility over Hong Kong whatsover. Claiming itself the guardian of Hong Kong is nothing more than self-entertaining.  
Second, Mr Hunt says that the UK negotiated freedoms for Hong Kong. How brazen is that! Was there any democracy when the British governors were in Hong Kong? People in Hong Kong didn't even have the right to take to the streets then. It is only after the return that Hong Kong residents started enjoying unprecedented democratic rights and freedoms. The Chinese Government strictly follows the Constitution and the Basic Law. It earnestly implements the  one country, two systems" policy. It ensures that the people of Hong Kong govern Hong Kong with a high degree of autonomy.

Third, the violent storming of the Legislative Council on July 1 is a grave illegal activity. It tramples on the rule of law and undermines social order. In total disregard of facts, Mr. Hunt called the SAR government's response "repression". That is entirely misleading. I want to ask Mr. Hunt, if it were the British Parliament that had been stormed and vandalized, what would the British government do? Will it sit by idly and let the protesters have their way? If this is the democracy he believes in, should the police guarding the Parliament withdraw to allow in protesters across the street? Will he call the British police's handling of the August 2011 riot in London "repression"?

I shall stress that Hong Kong is China's special administrative region. Its affairs are purely China's internal affairs. They brook no interference from any country, organization or individual in any form. We hope that the UK side, especially Mr. Hunt, will cease to overreach and interfere. Such attempts are doomed to fail.  

Q: Can you tell us how the Chinese government has expressed its dissatisfaction about Mr. Hunt's comments? Have you lodged a complaint with the Foreign Office in Britain? Or have you summoned in any of the British diplomats in Beijing to express your dissatisfaction?

A: Like I just said, we deplore and firmly oppose Mr. Hunt's wrong remarks. We have lodged stern representations with the British side in London and Beijing. We hope the UK will treat our solemn position seriously and stop making such incorrect comments and grossly interfering in China's domestic affairs.

4 July

Q: First question, Chinese Ambassador to the UK Liu Xiaoming criticized the country yesterday. He said that the UK, by supporting the violent storming incident in Hong Kong's Legislative Council, is choosing to stand on the wrong side. He warned that further interference will affect China-UK bilateral relationship. Ambassador Liu was "summoned" by the British foreign office and criticized for his remarks. I wonder if you have any response to that? Second question, Prime Minister Theresa May claimed that a high degree of autonomy in Hong Kong and all rights and freedoms enshrined in the Sino-British Joint Declaration should be respected. She has expressed concerns to the Chinese side. How do you respond to that?

A: The Chinese Embassy in the UK has released information on Ambassador Liu's meeting with the British side and how he made representations to them. I'd refer you to it if you want to know more about China's stern position, which I believe Ambassador Liu has made clear.

As to your second question, in the past several days, Foreign Secretary Hunt has been making wanton remarks on Hong Kong affairs. Now some other person joins his league. Are they doing this as a team?

China's resolute response to Mr. Hunt's erroneous comments on Hong Kong-related affairs can also be applied to similar remarks made by other British officials.

For the time being today, I will restrain myself and won't say anymore. But I may have more to say if certain people in the UK obstinately stick to the wrong path and keep repeating their mistakes.

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