Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Hong Kong hits back at Britain’s demand to repeal security law

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong officials on Friday condemned a call by the British government to scrap a national security law imposed by China, which Britain said was designed to “silence and discredit” pro-democracy opposition figures. was used for.

Britain’s Foreign Secretary James Cleverly wrote in his government’s latest six-monthly report on Hong Kong that he heard at a UN hearing in February highlighting how Hong Kong authorities have used the security law to crack down on opposition figures. many of whom are in prison or have been forced into exile.

An independent report by the UN Human Rights Council last July tactfully called on Beijing to implement recommendations, including “removing the national security law” Beijing imposed on the former British colony in 2020 .

Hong Kong authorities said in a statement that they “absolutely refute, strongly disapprove and strongly reject the slanderous comments and malicious political attacks”.

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A Hong Kong government spokesman said Britain should “stop interfering in Hong Kong’s affairs, which are purely China’s internal affairs”.

The spokesperson said that Hong Kong’s security law had brought stability after mass pro-democracy protests in 2019, and that while Hong Kong’s laws guaranteed some individual rights, “such rights and freedoms are not absolute” when national security When it comes to security.

Britain noted Hong Kong’s erosion of the rule of law in its report, including the removal of Hong Kong’s pro-China leader from “powers once vested in the judiciary” and the inability of those facing national security charges to challenge government decisions in the courts is included.

Cleverly reads the report’s foreword, “We stand with our allies in condemning the continued erosion of civil and political rights and autonomy of Hong Kong.”

Those Who Have Been Persecuted tactfully referred to jailed media tycoon Jimmy Lai, who faces a national security trial in September, and said he raised Lai’s case with Chinese Vice President Han Zheng this month.

Lai, 75, founded the pro-democracy Apple Daily newspaper, which was raided by police and shut down in 2021.

Britain handed Hong Kong back to China in 1997 under an agreement that guaranteed its independence for at least 50 years.

While relations between London and Beijing have been strained since Beijing imposed national security laws, a senior British official visited Hong Kong this month, the first such visit in five years.

(Reporting by James Pomfret; Editing by Robert Birsel)

Copyright 2023 Thomson Reuters,

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