The Hong Kong government hits back at 'interference' from UN
The government has hit back at criticism from UN human rights experts of Beijing's new National Security Law for the SAR, while also noting aspects of their open letter that recognised human rights protections in the legislation.
In the letter published on Friday, the UN special rapporteur on protecting human rights while countering terrorism, Fionnuala Ni Aolain, and six other UN experts said the law "infringes on certain fundamental rights".
They also urged Beijing to appoint a "fully independent reviewer" to ensure the legislation complies with international convenants.
In a response on Friday evening, a government spokesman said the administration "objects to interference with our country’s and HKSAR’s internal affairs in any form.
"We would like to reiterate that safeguarding national security through legislation is in line with international practice. Every country has laws and duty to safeguard its national security and sovereignty," he said.
The spokesman added: "We would also like to emphasise that the National Security Law does not affect the legitimate rights and freedoms of Hong Kong residents.
"In fact, we note that the Special Rapporteurs recognise the National Security Law’s acknowledgement of the need to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms, which has been clearly stipulated in Article 4 and will be duly observed."
The foreign ministry in Beijing also rejected the letter's allegations, saying the law "punishes an extremely small number and protects the absolute majority" in Hong Kong.
"Some people disregard the facts and maliciously slander China's human rights situation... and crudely interfere in China's internal affairs," Hua Chunying told reporters.