HKSAR government slams US planned 'visa restrictions'; US interference won't shake HK resolution in safeguarding natl security, say experts
Published: Mar 30, 2024 05:11 PM
The view of Hong Kong Photo: VCG

The view of Hong Kong Photo: VCG

The US State Department released its 2024 Hong Kong Policy Act Report on Friday and announced that it is taking steps to impose new visa restrictions on multiple Hong Kong officials over the “crackdown on rights and freedoms,” which experts believed that will not have a significant impact on Hong Kong society or its development, but only reveal that the US is using this as an excuse to distort facts and mislead the international community.

A statement from US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Friday that in the past year, Beijing had continued to take actions against Hong Kong Special Administrative Region’s (HKSAR) promised “high degree of autonomy, democratic institutions, and rights and freedoms, including with the recent enactment of a new national security law known as Article 23,” the Reuters reported.

“In response, the Department of State is announcing that it is taking steps to impose new visa restrictions on multiple Hong Kong officials responsible for the intensifying crackdown on rights and freedoms,” Blinken said.

The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in a press release on Saturday strongly disapproved of and rejected the untruthful remarks, slanders and smears against various aspects of the HKSAR in the US’ so-called 2024 Hong Kong Policy Act Report and the relevant statement of Blinken. “It was apparent that the so-called report and the relevant statement were compiled to serve the political purpose of maintaining the US hegemony. By piling up false stories and narratives, they were clearly crafted to serve the political interest of the US in order to suppress the development rights and security interests of others,” the release wrote.

The so-called sanctions arbitrarily imposed by the US as mentioned in the so-called report, and the so-called visa restrictions claimed to be imposed in the relevant statement, smack of despicable political manipulation to intimidate the HKSAR officials safeguarding national security. These grossly interfere in China's internal affairs and Hong Kong affairs, and violate the international law and the basic norms governing international relations, the release said. The HKSAR despises such so-called sanctions and visa restrictions by the US and is not intimidated by such a despicable behavior. The HKSAR will resolutely continue to discharge the duty of safeguarding national security, it noted.

According to the Reuters, the US did not mention the officials who would be targeted. The US Hong Kong Policy Act Report requires the State Department to report each year to Congress on conditions in the Hong Kong SAR.

Experts stressed that the so-called new visa restrictions claimed to be imposed by the US will not have any substantial impact on Hong Kong society or its development. Instead, they only reveal that the US is attempting to influence public opinion and sentiment in Hong Kong through such despicable sensationalism, Li Xiaobing, an expert on Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan affairs from Nankai University, told the Global Times on Saturday.

“We have long been determined on major issues such as the practice of ‘One Country, Two Systems.’ And the legal system and enforcement mechanisms for safeguarding national security have evolved from institutional to practical stages over the years,” Li said.

In its press release, the HKSAR government emphasized its commitments to “steadfastly safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests, and fully and faithfully live up to the highest principle of 'One Country, Two Systems.'” The government will resolutely, fully and faithfully implement the Hong Kong National Security Law (NSL), the Safeguarding National Security Ordinance and other relevant laws safeguarding national security in the HKSAR, to , in accordance with the law, effectively prevent, suppress and impose punishment for acts and activities endangering national security, whilst upholding the rights and freedoms of Hong Kong people, so as to ensure the steadfast and successful implementation of the principle of “One Country, Two Systems,” it said.  

The HKSAR Government strongly demands the US to immediately stop acting against the international law and basic norms of international relations and interfering in China's internal affairs and Hong Kong affairs.

The so-called US Hong Kong Policy Act report is aimed at distorting and misleading the international community, stigmatizing the vast majority of kind-hearted citizens in Hong Kong SAR, experts warned. After decades of development, Hong Kong SAR has deeply integrated with the Chinese mainland and it has entered a new stage in which it has restored order and is set to thrive. The US’ planned new restrictions and sanctions will not shake the country’s determination to safeguard national security, Li noted. 

The understanding of national security issues in Hong Kong society and the city’s development are no longer something that anti-China forces in the West can meddle with, the expert stressed.