The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government on Friday strongly deplored and opposed the statement issued by the U.S. consulate general in Hong Kong, which incorrectly and inappropriately commented that the national security law in HKSAR would affect the freedom of speech of Hong Kong residents.
"Safeguarding national security through legislation is in line with international practice. Every country has laws and a duty to safeguard its national security and sovereignty," said a government spokesman, adding that the law only targets four types of acts and activities that endanger national security, and the vast majority of Hong Kong residents who are law-abiding, including overseas investors, are entirely not affected.
The spokesman said that the U.S. has numerous such laws safeguarding national security and sovereignty and thus its inappropriate comments on the law in HKSAR smacks of political manipulation and double standards.
"It is a gross interference in China's internal affairs and a grave violation of basic norms governing international relations. The HKSAR government strongly opposes the comments," the spokesman said.
The spokesman pointed out that the law was enacted to ensure the resolute, full and faithful implementation of "one country, two systems", "Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong" and a high degree of autonomy. The capitalist system, high degree of autonomy and legal system of the HKSAR will not be affected.
"The law does not affect the legitimate rights of Hong Kong residents to exercise freedom of speech," the spokesman said.
The spokesman stressed that as a highly international city, Hong Kong has frequent exchanges and close liaison with other countries, regions and relevant international organisations, and such normal exchanges are protected by the Basic Law and the laws of the HKSAR.
"What the national security law regulates is the use of Hong Kong by foreign countries or external elements to carry out activities of secession, subversion, infiltration and sabotage, which is obviously different from normal exchange activities. Given that the law has provided a clear definition of the offence of collusion with a foreign country or with external elements to endanger national security, the general public will not breach the law inadvertently, and the legitimate rights and freedoms enjoyed by the residents will also not be affected," the spokesman added.
"Nevertheless, we will seriously handle, in accordance with the law, such illegal acts where collusion with a foreign country or with external elements to endanger national security are genuinely involved," the spokesman said.