This March 12, 2021 photo shows the Central Government Offices and the Legislative Council complex in Tamar, Hong Kong. (LI GANG / XINHUA)
HONG KONG – The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government strongly condemned on Thursday the untruthful remarks by the Consul General of the United States of America to Hong Kong Gregory May at a recent forum held by a US think tank, regarding the city’s National Security Law, the rule of law and the government's work in safeguarding national security.
Since the implementation of the NSL in June 2020, the US government and politicians have been repeatedly exploiting different incidents and occasions, as well as creating excuses, to slander the NSL and attack the HKSAR in its dutiful, faithful and lawful implementation of the NSL, a spokesperson for the HKSAR government said in a statement.
A spokesperson for the HKSAR government stressed that the HKSAR government is firmly committed to upholding the rights and freedoms enjoyed by Hong Kong residents as protected under the law
“They neglect the fact that the implementation of the NSL has enabled the livelihood and economic activities of the Hong Kong community at large to resume as normal and the business environment to be restored. All the above have clearly exposed the overbearing and domineering attitude of the US government and politicians,” the spokesperson said.
The spokesman stressed that the HKSAR government is firmly committed to upholding the rights and freedoms enjoyed by Hong Kong residents as protected under the law.
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The rights and freedoms that Hong Kong residents enjoy under the Basic Law, the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights as applied to Hong Kong shall be protected in accordance with the law, the spokesperson added.
A child walks past a billboard promoting National Security Education Day in Central on April 14, 2022. (EDMOND TANG / CHINA DAILY)
“Nonetheless, such rights and freedoms are not absolute. The ICCPR also expressly states that some of them may be subject to restrictions as prescribed by law that are necessary for protection of national security, public safety, public order or the rights and freedoms of others, etc,” the spokesperson said.
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The suggestion made by the US that people, institutions or organizations with certain backgrounds should be immune from legal sanctions for their illegal acts and activities was tantamount to granting privileges to them to break the law, and this was totally contrary to the spirit of the rule of law, the spokesperson noted.
“All law enforcement actions taken by Hong Kong law enforcement agencies under the NSL, or any local legislation, are based on evidence, strictly according to the law and for the acts of the people, institutions and organizations concerned, and have nothing to do with their political stance, background or occupation,” the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson pointed out that the NPCSC exercises the power of interpretation in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Constitution of the People's Republic of China and the NSL, which is a fundamental aspect of the “one country, two systems” principle
All prosecution decisions were based on an objective analysis of all admissible evidence and applicable laws, said the spokesperson, adding that the Judiciary exercises judicial power independently in accordance with the law, and all those facing criminal charges have the right to a fair trial.
Regarding May's smearing against the interpretation of the NSL given by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPCSC) last year, the spokesperson pointed out that the NPCSC exercises the power of interpretation in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Constitution of the People's Republic of China and the NSL, which is a fundamental aspect of the “one country, two systems” principle.
“The legislative interpretation given recently by the NPCSC did not directly deal with specific judicial proceedings. Rather, it clarified the meaning of the relevant legal provisions and the basis for application of the law. It does not in any way impair the independent judicial power and the power of final adjudication of the Hong Kong courts as guaranteed by the Basic Law,” the spokesperson said.
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The spokesperson also stressed that the interpretation did not confer additional power on the chief executive, and only clarified that the provision is applicable in handling controversies.
This file photo taken on June 29, 2020 shows a billboard promoting the Law of the People's Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) in the Central district in Hong Kong. (WANG SHEN / XINHUA)
“With social stability restored by the implementation of the NSL, as well as the close financial integration with the mainland, investors have become more interested in the Hong Kong market with greater confidence in the prospects of Hong Kong's development,” the spokesperson said.
“Any attempt by foreign countries or external forces to undermine Hong Kong's prosperity and stability by slandering the rule of law, rights and freedoms in the HKSAR will only expose their own weakness and faulty arguments and be doomed to fail,” the spokesperson said.
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The HKSAR government urged the US side again to immediately stop acting against the basic norms governing international relations, and immediately stop interfering in the affairs of the HKSAR, the spokesperson added.