CHINA / DIPLOMACY
Chinese authorities slam US, UK, Japan over comments on HK electoral reform
Published: Mar 31, 2021 09:48 PM
Hong Kong Photo:VCG

Hong Kong Photo:VCG

Chinese authorities on Wednesday slammed foreign countries' accusations against China over the electoral system reform plan for Hong Kong, following their comments on the issue the previous day, when the plan was approved by China's top legislature. 

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said on Wednesday at a routine press conference that US and UK officials are not qualified to interfere in other countries' domestic issues while the two countries face so many problems themselves.

"The epidemics in the two countries are still serious, killing so many people; so many people in the US and UK are addicted to drugs, are homeless; and the problems of nationalism and social unfairness grow severer and severer. What have these officials done for their own countries?" Hua questioned.

Hua noted that what these officials should do is care about the welfare of their own people and mind their own businesses. 

In response to the US accusing China of applying the "patriots governing Hong Kong" principle, Hua noted that it is actually an international principle for many countries to have patriots in their governments.

The UK and the US may continue to play the "Hong Kong card" and intensify their sanctions against China over Hong Kong-related issues, Zhi Zhenfeng, a legal expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

But electoral system reform in Hong Kong is related to China's national sovereignty, security and development interests. China will not compromise, and it has prepared for such a situation, he said.

The Office of the Commissioner of China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) urged the US to stop attempting to hamper the historical trend toward greater stability in Hong Kong on the pretext of human rights in a statement the office issued on Wednesday.

The office's spokesperson expressed strong disapproval of and firm opposition to the "2020 Country Report on Human Rights Practices: China" issued by the US Department of State. He said the report distorted the truth, demonized the the Chinese central government's Hong Kong-related policy measures including the national security law for the HKSAR, vilified the HKSAR government's law-based governance and the law enforcement efforts of the police, and openly endorsed anti-China forces sowing trouble in Hong Kong.

On the Hong Kong issue, the Biden administration holds the same basic position as its predecessor - that is, to intervene and sanction - and it has even stepped up its efforts to create a so-called democratic alliance to exert comprehensive pressure on China with a series of related contradictions, Tian Feilong, an associate professor at Beihang University, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

But under such pressure, the Chinese government, sticking to the "one country, two systems" principle, did not give in but had kept fighting, Tian said.

Reforming the Hong Kong electoral system is intended to solve the deep-seated problems of Hong Kong's political system and drive anti-China forces out of the political structure, and also to bring Hong Kong's democracy and the rule of law back to the framework of "one country, two systems" and the Basic Law, Tian said.

Hong Kong residents sign a petition to support the electoral reform for the city on Saturday. Tam Yiu-chung, a member of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress and convenor of the petition, said on Sunday that, from March 11 to Sunday, nearly 2.4 million people have signed the petition. Photo: VCG

Hong Kong residents sign a petition to support the electoral reform for the city on Saturday. Tam Yiu-chung, a member of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress and convenor of the petition, said on Sunday that, from March 11 to Sunday, nearly 2.4 million people have signed the petition. Photo: VCG



Chinese top lawmakers unanimously approved the Hong Kong electoral reform plan on Tuesday, with revised measures for electing the Hong Kong chief executive and the formation of the Legislative Council, which is seen as another major step in fixing loopholes in the city's governance structure.

On the same day, officials of the US, the UK and Japan expressed "concerns" over the move. 

"We are deeply concerned by these changes to Hong Kong's electoral system, which defy the will of people in Hong Kong and deny Hongkongers a voice in their own governance," an anonymous US State Department spokesman was quoted as saying by Reuters in a report on Wednesday. 

UK Britain Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Tuesday that China had breached the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration by enacting changes to Hong Kong's electoral system, which undermined the freedoms of people in Hong Kong, according to another Reuters report on Wednesday.  

Hua pointed out that the principle of letting patriots govern is actually an international rule applied by many countries, including the US and the UK.

In the US, the first requirement of US civil servants is to be loyal to the US constitution and laws. People cannot assume positions in the US government if they support overthrowing the US constitutional system or the US government, participate in strikes against the US government, or join in related organizations, Hua noted.

The UK also has laws to safeguard national security to crack down on crimes that try to split the country, overthrow state power, collude with external forces and leak national secrets. All the laws apply to civil servants as well, Hua said. 

As to the UK's accusation that China is breaching the joint declaration, Hua replied that the UK is ignoring the truth and confusing right and wrong, noting that the British government had never given Hong Kong any democracy or freedom and all of Britain's colonial governors of Hong Kong were designated by the British government.   

The Chinese central government is actually the one that safeguards and promotes Hong Kong's democracy, Hua noted.

A spokesperson from the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement on Tuesday, which claimed that the changes in Hong Kong's electoral system undermined trust in Hong Kong's Basic Law and the "one country, two systems" principle. The Japnanese ministry said that  elections in Hong Kong should be implemented in a fair manner with candidates representing broad political opinions included.

The Chinese Embassy in Japan on Tuesday expressed strong dissatisfaction with and firm opposition to Japan delivering such a speech. The embassy said that Japan delivering a so-called Hong Kong-related speech is grave interference in China's internal affairs and violated the basic norms of international relations.

"China firmly upholds the principles of 'one country, two systems,' 'Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong' and a high degree of autonomy. China is also firm in opposing any outside interference in Hong Kong's affairs and China's internal affairs," the Chinese Embassy said, urging Japan to abandon its wrong position.

The Chinese Embassy in Japan on Tuesday also expressed strong dissatisfaction that Japan had claimed that the changes in Hong Kong's electoral system undermined trust in Hong Kong's Basic Law. The embassy said that Japan delivering a so-called Hong Kong-related speech was grave interference in China's internal affairs and violated the basic norms of international relations.

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