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Tuesday, Apr 23, 2024

Beijing vows support for Hong Kong judges after US report calls for sanctions

Beijing vows support for Hong Kong judges after US report calls for sanctions

State Council’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office rejects report, saying it aims to smear city’s judicial system and national security law.
Beijing has vowed to safeguard Hong Kong’s judges in the execution of their duties, as two high-level state agencies condemned a US congressional report calling for sanctions against judicial officers presiding over national security cases.

The State Council’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office on Sunday rejected the paper by the US Congressional-Executive Commission on China, describing its claims as an attempt to smear the city’s judicial system and the Beijing-imposed national security law.

The legislation, which was passed by promulgation on June 30, 2020, targets secession, subversion of state power, terrorism and foreign interference.

A spokesman for the office condemned the report’s call for US sanctions against the city’s judges as “shameless and despicable”, saying the move was further proof that America was the “biggest saboteur” of Hong Kong’s rule of law and independent judiciary.

“It further exposed the arrogant, barefaced, ugly true face of US hegemony,” he said.

“The central government will firmly support the judiciary and judicial officers of Hong Kong in accurately implementing the Hong Kong national security law, and will firmly safeguard national security and Hong Kong’s rule of law, as well as fully protect the legal rights of the Hong Kong judicial officers.”

Last week, the US commission urged Washington to consider imposing sanctions on 29 Hong Kong judges presiding over national security cases, saying their role had weakened the city’s rule of law and independent judiciary.

The report also claimed the national security law had created a separate legal system in which the Hong Kong and central governments had “unchecked control over the weakened judiciary”.

The local office of China’s foreign ministry commissioner “strongly rejected and deplored” the report, while the city government claimed it made “slandering remarks and despicable threats” against judges.

The judiciary labelled the report a “flagrant and direct affront” to the rule of law and the independence of the courts.

The Law Society and Bar Association also condemned it.

A spokesman for the central government’s liaison office called the document “another attempt to meddle with China’s domestic affairs and Hong Kong affairs”.

“We strongly reject and deplore the report,” he said. “We note … the solemn responses by the Hong Kong judiciary that all judges and judicial officers would abide by the judicial oath and administer justice in full accordance with the law, without fear or favour, self-interest or deceit.

“In this regard, we express our firm support.”
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