HKSAR fights back against UK’s baseless slander on ‘media freedom’ and glorifying anti-China disruptors
Published: Sep 28, 2023 06:30 PM


The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government on Thursday slammed baseless remarks, slander and smears from the UK and other Western countries through the so-called event on "media freedom in Hong Kong" against the safeguarding of rights and freedoms, including media freedom, in the city.

According to media reports, the UK-organized event was held on the sidelines of the meeting of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Wednesday, with the attendance of Sebastien Lai, son of anti-China disruptor Jimmy Lai Chee-ying who marked his 1,000th day in jail this week.

Britain's Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said it would continue to raise "longstanding and legitimate concerns over the erosion of rights and freedoms in Hong Kong," according to a Reuters report.

The HKSAR government strongly disapproves of and firmly rejects repeated attempts by the UK together with other countries to float skewed remarks against the situation of human rights in Hong Kong. Such remarks amount to political manipulation that disregards and even twists facts, according to a readout on an official HKSAR website.

The political maneuver by the countries concerned, with an ill intent to interfere with Hong Kong's law-based governance and undermine the city's rule of law as well as its prosperity and stability, is distinctly despicable and doomed to fail, the HKSAR spokesperson said, urging countries concerned to immediately stop interfering in Hong Kong's governance, which are purely China's internal affairs.

According to the spokesperson, since Hong Kong's return to the motherland, Hong Kong residents have enjoyed the rights and freedoms under the Basic Law, the Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance and other relevant laws. Since the implementation of the National Security Law in 2020, Hong Kong has overall achieved a major transition from chaos to governance, and the media landscape in the city has remained vibrant.

"As always, the media can exercise their freedom of the press in accordance with the law. Their freedom of commenting on and criticizing government policies remains uninhibited as long as this is not in violation of the law," the spokesperson said.

Jimmy Lai, the founder of anti-China media outlet Apple Daily and instigator of the Hong Kong riots in 2019, was portrayed as a "pro-democracy activist" by some Western politicians and media.

"Hong Kong is a society underpinned by the rule of law and has always adhered to the principle that laws must be obeyed and lawbreakers be held accountable. Any suggestion that people, institutions and organizations from certain backgrounds or occupations be immune from legal sanctions for their illegal acts and activities is tantamount to granting privileges to them to break the law. It is totally contrary to the spirit of the rule of law and senseless," the spokesperson noted.

"The establishment of a system of freedom of expression, as well as its practice, requires the maintenance of a balance between freedom and order, and there must be a basic social bottom line and consensus, and the interests of national sovereignty, security and development are that bottom line," Li Xiaobing, an expert on Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan affairs from Nankai University, told the Global Times on Thursday.

The UK and other Western countries are fully aware of this point, but what they did is pretending to be confused in the case to attack HKSAR government, Li noted.

He said that unlike some Western politicians eager to use any excuse to inject themselves in Hong Kong affairs in an attempt to disrupt China's financial hub, the HKSAR government, is genuinely working for the interests of Hong Kong people in terms of their livelihoods and development prospects.