HK slams US-China panel report on National Security Law
The report claimed: HK is embracing authoritarianism with the NSL implementation.
The government of Hong Kong slammed a report made by the United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC) which claimed that the city is embracing authoritarianism with its implementation of the National Security Law.
In a statement, a government spokesperson said Hong Kong strongly condemns and opposes the “various unfounded allegations” made by the USCC in their annual report.
“The HKSAR Government once again urges the United States (US) to respect the international law and basic norms governing international relations. Any attempts to interfere in the internal affairs of China through Hong Kong will not succeed and we will continue to discharge our responsibility of safeguarding the national security resolutely,” the spokesperson said.
The government also countered claims made by the US-China panel on its report.
Contrary to the report’s claim that the NSL “allows the Hong Kong government to curtail the city’s freedoms with little notice or process,” the government said Hong Kong remains to have a high degree of autonomy and its people continues to enjoy their legitimate rights and freedom which are well-protected under the Basic Law.
“The NSL clearly stipulates that human rights shall be respected and protected in safeguarding national security in the HKSAR, and the rights and freedoms enjoyed by residents under the Basic Law and the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 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.
On its business environment
The government also countered the US-China panel’s allegations that the NSL has stripped the city of its “long-held advantages” that made it a global financial centre and that HK’s business environment has been increasingly “mainlandlized.”
The spokesperson said the NSL has actually helped reinforce HK’s position as an “international financial centre.”
“Since the implementation of the NSL, our financial market has remained steady. The banking sector is as robust as ever, financial services remain promising and development opportunities, both in Hong Kong and on the Mainland, continue to open up,” the spokesperson said.
The government also boasted on its ranking as the world's third-largest recipient of foreign direct investment based on the World Investment Report 2021, and its increased number of companies and startups in the city since 2017.
HKSAR also underscored that the NSL “did not impact commercial law.”
Meanwhile, the government also “strongly opposed” the panel’s recommendation to report on HK’s treatment as a separate customs territory and its compliance to its commitments under the World Trade Organization (WTO).
“As a separate customs territory, our rights as a WTO Member in the name of 'Hong Kong, China' are not subject to unilateral determination by any country. As one of the founding members and a staunch supporter of the WTO, Hong Kong takes its rights and obligations in the WTO seriously,” the government said.
On its electoral system
The panel claimed that Hong Kong’s electoral changes have increased the number of “decision-makers loyal to the central government” which made it “impossible for peaceful critics of the CCP to run for office.”
HK, for its part, said it remains “committed to ensuring public elections are being conducted in a fair, open and honest manner.”
On the National Security Education
The panel said HK’s government circular promoting national security education “require educators to actively promote the CCP’s concept of national security in addition to censoring prohibited acts, creating a culture of fear and distrust between educators and students.”
The government countered this by saying that national security education is being promoted in institutions in accordance with relevant statutory requirements and "based on the principle of institutional autonomy to fulfill their obligation of safeguarding national security."
On prosecution and adjudication
The government assured that prosecution in the city is made “free from any interferences” by its Department of Justice as provided for under Article 63 of its Basic Law.
“Prosecutorial decisions are based on an objective assessment of all admissible evidence, applicable laws, and the Prosecution Code, without political considerations,” the government said.