Published: 16:43, August 19, 2023 | Updated: 12:18, August 20, 2023
Hong Kong govt rejects EU report on SAR
By Wang Zhan in Hong Kong

This April 1, 2022 file photo shows the Central Government Offices in Hong Kong. (ANDY CHONG / CHINA DAILY)

The Hong Kong government on Saturday strongly disapproved of and firmly rejected groundless attacks, slanders and smears targeting the special administrative region’s safeguarding of national security, human rights in the European Commission’s so-called annual report about the city.

The same stance is also held against remarks about the SAR by the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, a government spokesman said in a statement.

“The HKSAR steadfastly safeguards national sovereignty, security and development interests, and fully and faithfully lives up to this top priority of the 'one country, two systems' principle,” reads the statement.

READ MORE: European Parliament’s HK resolution is malicious, misinformed

The spokesman stressed that the SAR government will resolutely, fully and faithfully implement the National Security Law (NSL) and further strengthen the city’s legal system and enforcement mechanisms to safeguard national security to prevent and punish acts that endanger national security, while also safeguard the rights and freedoms enjoyed by Hong Kong people in accordance with the law. 

Any attempt by foreign countries or external forces to undermine Hong Kong's prosperity and stability by slandering the city's situation will only expose their own weakness and faulty arguments and be doomed to fail.

Spokesman, HKSAR Govt

The government strongly urged the EU to discern facts from fallacies, respect the international law and basic norms governing international relations, and immediately stop interfering in Hong Kong matters, which are purely China’s internal affairs.

Underscoring that national security is a matter within the purview of the central authorities and it is the responsibility and right of every country to safeguard its national security, the SAR government said it firmly opposes the EU's malicious slanders against the NSL again by the so-called report. 

It strongly disapproved of the EU turning a blind eye to the fact that the NSL's implementation has enabled the livelihood and economic activities of the Hong Kong community at large to resume as normal and the business environment to be restored.

“All law enforcement actions taken by law enforcement agencies of the HKSAR under the NSL, or indeed any local laws, are based on evidence, strictly according to the law and for the acts of the people, institutions or organizations concerned, and have nothing to do with their political stance, background or occupation.”

As regards the sedition offence under the Crimes Ordinance, the statement said that the courts in the SAR have ruled in different cases that the provisions relating to sedition are consistent with the relevant provisions of the Basic Law and the Hong Kong Bill of Rights on the protection of human rights, and that a proportionate and reasonable balance has been struck between safeguarding national security and protection of the freedom of speech.

On safeguarding rights and freedoms, the government statement pointed out that the media landscape in Hong Kong has remained vibrant since the NSL’s implementation.

It continues: “As always, the media can exercise their freedom of the press in accordance with the law. Their freedom of commenting on and criticising government policies remains uninhibited as long as this is not in violation of the law.” 

Concerning the baseless remarks that smear the Personal Data (Privacy) (Amendment) Ordinance 2021 and Copyright (Amendment) Ordinance 2022 as laws threatening internet freedom, the SAR government reiterated that the only objective of the former ordinance is to combat doxxing acts that intrude into personal data privacy. Every arrest is supported by reasonable and solid evidence, with a sole aim of protecting personal data privacy, it added.

It explained that the copyright ordinance aims to update Hong Kong’s copyright regime to strengthen copyright protection in the digital environment, safeguarding the business environment for the city’s creative and technology industries.

ALSO READ: EU's criticism of HK election misguided

“Any attempt by foreign countries or external forces to undermine Hong Kong's prosperity and stability by slandering the city's situation will only expose their own weakness and faulty arguments and be doomed to fail,” reads the statement. 

The SAR government will continue to discharge its duty to steadfastly ensure the successful implementation of the principles of "one country, two systems”, “Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong” and a high degree of autonomy, it added.