The Office of the Commissioner of the Chinese Foreign Ministry in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) on Wednesday expressed strong opposition to wanton remarks by British politicians that smear China's move to safeguard national security and interfere in Hong Kong affairs, China's internal affairs.
Since Hong Kong's return to the motherland, China has unswervingly, fully and faithfully implemented the principles of "one country, two systems," "Hong Kong people governing Hong Kong," and a high degree of autonomy, a spokesperson said.
Hong Kong residents now enjoy democratic rights and freedoms unimaginable under the British colonial rule, and Hong Kong's status as a global financial, shipping and trade center has been reinforced, the spokesperson said.
The overall jurisdiction exercised by the central authorities over Hong Kong according to the Constitution and the Basic Law of the HKSAR is not limited to foreign affairs and national defense, the spokesperson said, stressing that national security legislation for the HKSAR falls within the state's legislative power.
While the central government authorizes the HKSAR to enact laws on its own to safeguard national security through Article 23 of the Basic Law, it does not change the fact that national security legislation is essentially within the purview of the central authorities, nor does it mean the central authorities have forfeited the power to uphold national security, the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson stressed that the decision of the national legislature to make national security laws for Hong Kong has received widespread support of Hong Kong residents from all walks of life, with nearly 3 million signatures collected in eight days.
The allegations that the legislation is forced upon Hong Kong and the high degree of autonomy will be damaged are nothing but slander and distortion, the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson said the legislation protects law-abiding Hong Kong residents and only targets a small number of criminals who endanger national security.
The rights and freedoms enjoyed by Hong Kong residents, such as freedom of speech, freedom of the press and right to assembly, will not be affected, and Hong Kong courts will continue to exercise independent judicial power, including that of final adjudication, the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson said the wanton remarks by British politicians will do no good to ease the tension since Hong Kong's social unrest last year.
The violence of radicals and "Hong Kong independence" organizations, and rampant interference by external forces have exposed the major loopholes in national security protection in Hong Kong and showed the urgency of the legislation, the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson said the legislation will guarantee Hong Kong's long-term prosperity and stability and reinforce the foundation of "one country, two systems."
The Sino-British Joint Declaration does not give Britain the right to interfere in Hong Kong affairs after Hong Kong returns to China, the spokesperson said, stressing that Britain has no sovereignty, jurisdiction or right of "supervision" over Hong Kong.
Britain and any other foreign countries have no qualification to refer to the Sino-British Joint Declaration to justify interference in Hong Kong affairs, the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson emphasized that China's strong will and firm determination to establish and improve Hong Kong's legal system and enforcement mechanisms for safeguarding national security should never be underestimated, and all external pressure and obstruction will be futile.
The spokesperson urged the British side to respect China's legitimate efforts to safeguard national security in Hong Kong, or it will receive the resolute counterattacks of all Chinese people.