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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson's remarks on British foreign secretary's latest statement on Hong Kong
2020/06/12

Question: UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said that Hong Kong has experienced its greatest period of turmoil since last June. The solution to this unrest and its underlying causes must come from Hong Kong, and cannot be imposed from mainland China. For the Chinese Government, rather than Hong Kong's own institutions, to directly impose national security legislation would lie in direct conflict with Article 23 of Hong Kong's Basic Law, and with China's obligations under the Sino-British Joint Declaration. There is still time for China to re-consider and respect Hong Kong's autonomy and its own international obligations. What is your comment?

Hua Chunying: We have repeatedly made clear China's position on the national security legislation for the HKSAR. I would like to stress a few more points.

First, since the unrest over the amendment bill took place in Hong Kong in June 2019, "Hong Kong independence" and radical separatist activities have become increasingly rampant, and violent and terrorist activities have escalated, seriously challenging the red line of the "one country, two systems" principle, severely undermining the lives, property and legitimate rights and interests of Hong Kong citizens, and posing a serious threat to China's national security. Some external forces are flagrantly interfering in Hong Kong's affairs, supporting violent criminals, threatening the HKSAR government, and bearing unshirkable responsibility for the serious violence in Hong Kong. Hard facts show that the national security legislation for Hong Kong is reasonable, lawful, necessary and urgently needed. Within just eight days of the announcement, nearly three million Hong Kong people expressed their support for the legislation decision in signature campaigns. The decision has also seen support from some well-known foreign companies in recent days. Only some outside forces have been very high-profile in making their opposition heard. What makes them so agitated and anxious? They are simply worried that they will not be able to use Hong Kong in as reckless and unchecked ways as before to engage in activities that jeopardize China's national security. This proves once again that the national security legislation for HKSAR is imperative and cannot be delayed.

Second, national security legislation is in the power of the central government in all countries, and China is no exception. Through Article 23 of the Basic Law, the Central Government authorizes the HKSAR to fulfill its constitutional duty by enacting laws on its own. Article 23 does not change the fact that the Central Government is responsible for upholding national security in China. It has been nearly 23 years since Hong Kong's return to the motherland, and the legislation obligation under Article 23 of the Basic Law has yet to be completed. As the HKSAR is facing a grave situation in safeguarding national security, the central government has both the power and the responsibility to timely plug the loopholes and fill the gaps. Britain has also passed multiple pieces of national security legislation in recent years. During the British colonial rule of Hong Kong, the British Treason Act was applied in Hong Kong with special enforcement agencies. There is no reason for the UK to apply double standards on the matter of national security legislation.

Third, the core of the Sino-British Joint Declaration is China's resumption of sovereignty over Hong Kong. The basic policies on Hong Kong stipulated in the Joint Declaration are policy statements made by the Chinese side, which has been fully reflected in the Basic Law of the HKSAR formulated by the NPC. China's policy statements are not commitments to the UK, and nothing "breaches international obligations". I gave a detailed account on the Joint Declaration at my regular press conference on June 8. After the return of Hong Kong, all the provisions concerning the British side in the Joint Declaration have been fulfilled.

Fourth, China never interferes in the internal affairs of the UK, which fully demonstrates China's respect for the British government's due rights. We hope the UK will also respect the Chinese Central Government's right to effectively exercise its overall jurisdiction over the HKSAR in accordance with the "one country, two systems" principle, the Constitution and the Basic Law, and respect China's legitimate right to safeguard its own sovereignty and security.

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