In this undated photo, flags of the People's Republic of China and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region are displayed in Tsim Sha Tsui East. (CALVIN NG / CHINA DAILY)
BEIJING – China urges the United States to respect the facts, stop using various excuses to obstruct the law enforcement by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and refrain from shielding suspects, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Friday.
Hong Kong is a society under the rule of law where everyone is equal before the law, spokesperson Zhao Lijian
Spokesperson Zhao Lijian made the remarks at a daily news briefing in response to the US statement on the closure of Apple Daily.
Hong Kong is a society under the rule of law where everyone is equal before the law, the spokesperson said, adding that no one has extra-legal privileges, and no institution is an extra-legal entity.
Zhao said the Hong Kong police act in strict accordance with the law against individuals and companies suspected of endangering national security and that it is a just move to combat crime and maintain the rule of law and social order.
"We firmly support the HKSAR government and the police in performing their duties in accordance with the law, and firmly support all efforts to maintain national security and the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong," Zhao said.
The law on safeguarding national security in the HKSAR focuses on cracking down on a handful of anti-China, destabilizing forces who seriously endanger national security, but it protects the rights and freedom enjoyed by the vast majority of Hong Kong residents in accordance with the law, including freedom of the press, he said.
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Zhao pointed out that since the implementation of the National Security Law, social stability has been restored in Hong Kong, the rule of law and justice have been upheld, and the lawful rights and freedoms of Hong Kong residents and foreign citizens in the city are better protected in a safer environment, which is an undeniable fact.
Hong Kong is an inalienable part of China, and Hong Kong affairs are purely China's internal affairs, Zhao noted, adding that no organization or individual has the right to make irresponsible remarks.
"The United States should respect the facts, stop obstructing the law enforcement by the HKSAR and shielding suspects under various pretext, stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs in any way, and stop interfering in China's internal affairs," Zhao said.
In a separate statement, the Office of the Commissioner of the Chinese Foreign Ministry in the HKSAR urged the United States to stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs on the pretext of press freedom.
The spokesperson for the office made the remarks in response to media inquiries about a statement concerning Apple Daily released by the White House website.
The US statement groundlessly accused the central government and the HKSAR government of suppressing "media freedom," attacked the National Security Law in the HKSAR, and smeared the successful practice of "one country, two systems" in Hong Kong in disregard of international law and basic norms governing international relations, the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson deeply regretted the shocking allegations and expressed strong disapproval and firm opposition.
The Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the HKSAR expressed a similar sentiment, saying that it is fully justified to punish crimes according to the law and stressed the unwavering determination to safeguard national security.
Apple Daily has had a notorious record over the last two decades, violating journalistic ethics, spreading disinformation, colluding with external forces and endangering national security, and has become a "political tool" to destabilize Hong Kong and smear China, a spokesperson said.
People from various sectors in Hong Kong have actually celebrated the closure of the newspaper, the spokesperson said.