Politics, Asia - Pacific

Hong Kong slams US panel's report on economy, electoral reforms

Local gov’t says Washington should respect international law, pushes back ‘interference’ in China’s ‘internal affairs’

Riyaz ul Khaliq   | 18.11.2021
Hong Kong slams US panel's report on economy, electoral reforms

ISTANBUL 

Urging Washington to “respect” international law, Hong Kong on Thursday condemned what it called “various unfounded allegations” made by a US advisory panel on China.

“Any attempts to interfere in the internal affairs of China through Hong Kong will not succeed and we will continue to discharge our responsibility of safeguarding the national security resolutely,” Hong Kong local government said in response to the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission’s (USCC) report released by Washington on Wednesday.

The USCC has alleged that the controversial National Security Law (NSL) imposed by Beijing in the semi-autonomous regions last year “had eroded Hong Kong’s judicial independence and curtailed freedoms.”

It also criticized the overhaul of the electoral system, and accused Beijing of having “mainlandized” Hong Kong and “of turning its Legislative Council into a rubber stamp.”

However, the Hong Kong authorities maintained the implementation of the NSL “stopped the chaos and restored stability” in the region.

“The NSL ensures the resolute, full and faithful implementation of the policy of 'one country, two systems'. Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy remains protected and the legitimate rights and freedoms enjoyed by Hong Kong people under the Basic Law are well-protected,” the statement added.

It claimed the NSL has “reinforced Hong Kong's position as an international financial center and is conducive to attracting more global investors to do business and invest in Hong Kong.”

“Since the implementation of the NSL, our financial market has remained steady. The banking sector is as robust as ever, financial services remain promising and development opportunities, both in Hong Kong and on the mainland, continue to open up,” the statement said.

Hong Kong was ranked the world's third-largest recipient of foreign direct investment in the World Investment Report 2021 published by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, it added.

The regional authorities accused the US of “pressuring multinational enterprises operating in Hong Kong.”

However, it said the American Chamber of Commerce had remarked that Hong Kong remained a “critical and vibrant facilitator of trade and financial flows between China and the rest of the world” while the “NSL did not impact commercial law.”

The Hong Kong government strongly “opposes the USCC's recommendation concerning reporting on Hong Kong's compliance with World Trade Organization (WTO) rules.”

“As a separate customs territory, our rights as a WTO member in the name of 'Hong Kong, China' are not subject to unilateral determination by any country. As one of the founding members and a staunch supporter of the WTO, Hong Kong takes its rights and obligations in the WTO seriously,” it added.

The government said the principle of “patriots administering Hong Kong” is “conducive to safeguarding the country's sovereignty, security, and development interests, and maintaining Hong Kong's long-term prosperity and stability.”

“The improvement to the electoral system is both timely and necessary.”

On judicial independence in Hong Kong, the government said: “Prosecutions are made by the Department of Justice, free from any interference. Prosecutorial decisions are based on an objective assessment of all admissible evidence, applicable laws, and the Prosecution Code, without political considerations.”


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