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Sunday, Jul 12, 2020

HKSAR gov't refutes groundless accusations by U.S. congressional report

The government of China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) on Thursday reiterated that foreign legislatures should not interfere in any form in the internal affairs of the HKSAR.
A spokesperson of the HKSAR government made the remarks in a statement in response to a U.S. congressional report, which made groundless accusations on human rights and freedoms in Hong Kong and urged the U.S. government to resort to the so-called Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019.

The act is unwarranted, intervenes in HKSAR internal affairs and harms the relations and common interests between the HKSAR and the United States, the spokesperson said.

Since Hong Kong's return to the motherland, the HKSAR has been exercising "Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong" and a high degree of autonomy in strict accordance with the Basic Law of the HKSAR, said the spokesperson.

"The HKSAR government attaches great importance to human rights and freedoms and is determined to safeguard them."

"The Basic Law stipulates that permanent residents of the HKSAR shall have the right to vote and the right to stand for election in accordance with law. At the same time, the HKSAR government has a duty to implement and uphold the Basic Law and to ensure that all elections will be conducted in accordance with the Basic Law and relevant electoral laws. There is no 'political screening.'"

Meanwhile, the spokesperson said "any suggestion for 'Hong Kong's independence' is a blatant violation of the Basic Law and a direct affront to the national sovereignty, security and territorial integrity of China."

The spokesperson also said universal suffrage for selecting the HKSAR chief executive and electing all members of the Legislative Council is enshrined as an ultimate aim in the Basic Law.

"To achieve this aim, the community needs to engage in dialogues, premised on the legal basis and under a peaceful atmosphere with mutual trust, with a view to narrowing differences and attaining a consensus agreeable to all sides."

As a matter of fact, the HKSAR government took forward constitutional development in accordance with law between 2013 and 2015, and put forward a practicable proposal for selecting the chief executive by universal suffrage. However, the proposal was vetoed by some members of the Legislative Council who claimed to strive for democracy, said the spokesperson.

Regarding the Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019, the spokesperson said it is incorrect for the U.S. report to say that the bill, already withdrawn, would "empower the chief executive to make decisions on fugitive arrangements on a case-by-case basis."

"According to the now-withdrawn bill, the chief executive could not bypass the court to surrender a fugitive to any requesting party."

Unfortunately, from June 2019 until now, many public demonstrations, processions and public meetings in Hong Kong ended in violent and illegal confrontations, including reckless blockage of roadways, throwing of petrol bombs and bricks, arson, vandalism, setting ablaze individual stores and facilities of the Mass Transit Railway and Light Rail, and beating people holding different views, the spokesperson noted.

The police have prudent and stringent guidelines for the use of force and will only use appropriate force when it is necessary, said the spokesperson, adding if members of the public could express their views in a peaceful and rational manner, there would be no need for the police to use any force.

The spokesperson pointed out that "the HKSAR government is committed to safeguarding the rule of law and judicial independence in Hong Kong."

"Article 63 of the Basic Law entrenches the constitutional principle of prosecutorial independence. The conduct of all criminal prosecutions of the Department of Justice is free from any interference."

Meanwhile, the spokesperson also said the HKSAR government has all along been combating trafficking in persons and has allocated additional annual funding of over 62 million Hong Kong dollars (nearly 8 million U.S. dollars) starting from the 2019-20 financial year to support various departments to create close to 100 new permanent posts in the civil service dedicated to the fight against the crime.
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