Published: 11:47, May 21, 2024 | Updated: 16:03, May 21, 2024
Article 23 legislation: SAR govt slams smears by Hong Kong Watch
By Wang Zhan
In this Jan 1, 2024, photo, visitors take photos as the Chinese national and Hong Kong regional flags fly at the Golden Bauhinia Square in Wan Chai, Hong Kong. (SHAMIM ASHRAF / CHINA DAILY)

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government has strongly condemned untruthful, slandering, and smearing remarks against the legislation of Article 23 of the Basic Law published by anti-China organization Hong Kong Watch in a “briefing”.

The organization also requested the United Kingdom government to impose so-called "sanctions" on SAR government officials, “deliberately misleading the public and smearing the Hong Kong National Security Law and the Safeguarding National Security Ordinance”, the government said in a statement early on Tuesday.

“The so-called 'sanctions' mentioned in the 'briefing' smack of despicable political manipulation to intimidate the HKSAR officials safeguarding national security,” a government spokesman said, adding that these grossly interfere in China's internal affairs and Hong Kong affairs, and violate the international law and the basic norms governing international relations.

READ MORE: Rights protections underpin Safeguarding National Security Ordinance

The HKSAR despises such so-called 'sanctions' and is not intimidated by such a despicable behavior and will resolutely continue to discharge the duty of safeguarding national security, added the spokesman.

The UK has no sovereignty, jurisdiction or right of supervision over Hong Kong after its return to the motherland.

Spokesman, HKSAR Govt

Pointing out that the HKSAR is an inalienable part of China and comes directly under the jurisdiction of the central government, the spokesman said the core essence of the Sino-British Joint Declaration is about China's resumption of the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong.

“It did not authorize the UK to interfere in Hong Kong's affairs after its return to the motherland. The UK has no sovereignty, jurisdiction or right of supervision over Hong Kong after its return to the motherland.”

The SAR government steadfastly safeguards the rights and freedoms enjoyed by Hong Kong people as protected under the law, the spokesman said, adding that human rights in the city have always been robustly guaranteed constitutionally by both the Constitution and the Basic Law since the city’s return to the motherland.

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The NSL and the ordinance also clearly stipulate that human rights shall be respected and protected in safeguarding national security in the HKSAR and that the rights and freedoms shall be protected in accordance with the law, the spokesman stressed.

Pointing out that the shortcomings in the legal system and enforcement mechanisms for the HKSAR to safeguard national security are addressed following the successful enactment of the ordinance, the spokesman said: “We must once again emphasize that the ordinance is a piece of legislation to defend against external forces that endanger our national security, acting like a sturdier door and a more effective door lock to defend our home.”

The government strongly urged the “organizations with ulterior motives” to stop smearing and interfering in Hong Kong affairs which are internal affairs of China.

"We must also point out that the HKSAR law enforcement agencies have been taking law enforcement actions based on evidence and strictly in accordance with the law in respect of the acts of the persons or entities concerned, paying no regard to their political stance, background or occupation.”

The Hong Kong Watch is an anti-China organization and many of its members are also anti-China and destabilizing forces in the front line, “who have called for so-called 'sanctions' by foreign countries against officials of the central government and the HKSAR government repeatedly”, said the spokesman.

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The SAR government will continue to safeguard national security fearlessly, so that Hong Kong can focus its efforts on developing the economy, improving people's livelihood, and maintaining the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong, the spokesman added.