Freedoms, rights by no means eroded in Hong Kong: HKSAR gov't
Freedoms and rights have by no means been eroded at all in recent months in Hong Kong, the government of China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) said on Thursday, in response to groundless accusations from an organization.
An organization named Stand With Hong Kong reportedly had invited religious and faith leaders in Britain to sign a letter to urge the British government to "urgently ensure the lives and freedoms of the people of Hong Kong are protected."
"We deeply deplore the move as it is absolutely unwarranted and grossly misguided. It also totally ignores the real situation of Hong Kong, let alone failing to do justice to our good track record on the protection of human rights and freedoms in this dynamic world metropolis," a spokesman of the HKSAR government said.
The spokesman said the government also objects vehemently to the organization's remarks that Hong Kong people "are routinely subjected to police brutality and state repression."
"This is a patently groundless, insulting and malicious accusation which must be rejected outright. Nothing can be further from the truth," the spokesman said.
The spokesman emphasized that the protection of human rights and freedoms, including freedom of speech, of the press, of publication, of association and assembly are all enshrined in the Basic Law, the Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance and other legislation.
"Freedoms and human rights constitute our much-cherished core values which underpin Hong Kong's success," the spokesman said, stressing that freedoms and human rights have continued to be jealously guarded and remained a top priority of the government.
"Indeed, Hong Kong has remained the world's freest economy for 25 years in a row since 1994, according to the Washington-based Heritage Foundation," he said.
The spokesman said during the past six months, the vast majority of the requests for public meetings, processions and protests were given the green light, and for requests not approved, it was generally a decision made in the hopes of preventing violence, ensuring peace and public order.
However, "unprecedented violence, reckless and organized destruction became the norm" in Hong Kong, the spokesman said. Rioters wildly attacked police officers with fatal weapons including petrol bombs, vandalized public infrastructure and transport, trashed countless shops, restaurants and shopping malls and assaulted innocent people in streets.
Intimidation and doxxing through social media went rampant, and earlier this month, the so-called "freedom fighters" vandalized and threw petrol bombs at the Court of Final Appeal and High Court, the symbol of the rule of law, the spokesman said.
"These unlawful and violent acts must be condemned, curbed and ended if Hong Kong is to continue as a vibrant international financial, business and logistics hub," the spokesman said. "As in any society that believes in the rule of law, it is incumbent on our police force to maintain public safety and order."
"For a long time, Hong Kong has always enjoyed the full substance of real freedoms, the envy of many other economies. This is one of the success factors which make Hong Kong tick and propel us forward. The HKSAR government will ensure that this crucial attribute is well preserved and safeguarded," the spokesman said.