China criticizes UK and EU statements on Article 23 legislation, urges UK to abandon colonial illusions
Published: Mar 20, 2024 10:21 AM
Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong (Photo: cnsphoto)

Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong (Photo: cnsphoto)

China on refuted the remarks made by some European politicians regarding the passage of the Article 23 legislation in Hong Kong on Tuesday, urging Western powers to stop interfering in Hong Kong's affairs and China's internal affairs.

The UK Foreign Secretary, David Cameron, issued a statement following the passage of the law, claiming that the Article 23 legislation of the Basic Law was "rushed through the legislative process and will damage the rule of law, autonomy, and the rights and freedoms enjoyed in Hong Kong." The Chinese Embassy in the UK said the remarks from the British side are a serious distortion of the facts and constitute grave interference in China's internal affairs.

"We are firmly against this," the embassy stated, noting that the legislative process was rigorous and procedure-based.

The content of the law is sound and reasonable. The definition of criminal elements is clear, and the severity of penalties is appropriate. It is in line with international law and international common practices, it noted.

Hong Kong lawmakers unanimously passed the highly anticipated bill mandated by Article 23 of the Basic Law of Hong Kong on Tuesday. The draft bill of the Safeguarding National Security Ordinance will be gazetted on Saturday and will take effect from then.

"Hong Kong-related affairs are China's internal affairs, in which the UK side has no position to make unwarranted remarks," the embassy said. It urged the UK to cease its baseless accusations regarding the Article 23 legislation and to refrain from interfering in China's internal affairs under any pretext.

The Commissioner's Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hong Kong also slammed Cameron's remarks on Wednesday.

The UK has at least 14 laws for maintaining national security, with its new National Security Act introduced in 2023 having many vaguely defined clauses and broad authorizations for law enforcement agencies, the commissioner's office said.

The UK's own human rights record is not commendable, with numerous human rights violations domestically and a notorious record internationally. "It should take a good look at itself in the mirror and put away its hypocritical and double-standard tricks," it noted.

The UK continuously stirs up trouble and makes reckless comments about the situation in Hong Kong, blatantly trampling on the principles of international law and the basic norms of international relations, ultimately due to a deeply ingrained colonial mindset and a patronizing attitude, the commissioner's office noted.

China urges the UK to correct its position, face reality, give up the illusion of extending its colonial influence in Hong Kong, and stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs and China's internal matters in any way, it said.

Besides Cameron, the High Representative on behalf of the European Union also expressed their "concerns" over the legislation.

The law could "exacerbate the erosion of fundamental freedoms and political pluralism in Hong Kong, which could impact EU citizens, organizations, and companies in Hong Kong," the EU said in a statement on Tuesday.

The Commissioner's Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hong Kong expressed strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition toward the EU's statement on Wednesday, urging the EU to abandon hypocrisy and double standards and to immediately stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs and China's internal matters.

Improving the legal system, including those laws that safeguard national security, will not diminish Hong Kong's economic freedom, the commissioner's office said.

On the contrary, it will provide a robust legal guarantee for high-quality development and high-level openness in Hong Kong, better protect the property safety of Hong Kong residents, boost the confidence of both local and overseas investors, and create a safer, more convenient, and efficient business environment in Hong Kong.

Global Times