Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, San Francisco
Hong Kong
Gov’t strongly opposes US report

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government reiterated that foreign governments should not interfere in the city’s internal affairs.

The Hong Kong SAR Government issued the statement on January 9 in response to media enquiries concerning a United States Congressional-Executive Commission on China report.

The statement expressed strong opposition to the enactment of the Hong Kong Human Rights & Democracy Act in the US, noting that it clearly intervenes in Hong Kong's internal affairs.

The act is unwarranted, sends an erroneous signal to violent protesters, and harms the relations and common interests between Hong Kong and the US, it said.

The SAR Government expressed deep regret that the US has disregarded genuine concerns it repeatedly raised about the act.

The statement pointed out that since the return to the Motherland, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region has been exercising “Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong” and a high degree of autonomy in strict accordance with the Basic Law.

The “one country, two systems” principle has been fully and successfully implemented and the SAR Government will continue to implement the principle in accordance with the Basic Law.

The statement added that the HKSAR attaches great importance to human rights and freedoms and is determined to safeguard them.

The Basic Law stipulates that the city's permanent residents shall have the right to vote and stand for election in accordance with the law.

At the same time, the SAR Government has a duty to implement and uphold the Basic Law and ensure that all elections will be conducted in accordance with the Basic Law and relevant electoral laws. There is no political screening.

The statement also said the Basic Law clearly stipulates that the HKSAR is an inalienable part of the People's Republic of China (PRC).

Any suggestion for Hong Kong independence is a blatant violation of the Basic Law and a direct affront to the PRC’s national sovereignty, security and territorial integrity.

As for constitutional development, universal suffrage of one person, one vote for selecting the Chief Executive and electing all members of the Legislative Council is enshrined as an ultimate aim in the Basic Law.

To achieve this aim, the community needs to engage in dialogue, premised on the legal basis and under a peaceful atmosphere with mutual trust, with a view to narrowing differences and attaining a consensus on all sides.

The SAR Government will assess the situation carefully and take forward constitutional development in accordance with the Basic Law and the National People's Congress Standing Committee's interpretation and decisions.

In respect of the Fugitive Offenders & Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019, the Chief Executive announced on June 15 last year that the bill was suspended and later made it clear that all legislative work had come to a halt.

The Chief Executive further announced on September 4 last year that the SAR Government would formally withdraw the bill and the Secretary for Security withdrew the bill at the council last October.

The statement asserted that it is incorrect for the report to say that the bill would empower the Chief Executive to make decisions on fugitive arrangements on a case-by-case basis.

According to the now-withdrawn bill, the Chief Executive could not bypass the court to surrender a fugitive to any requesting party. The SAR Government regrets the report’s inclusion of this inaccurate statement.

From June 2019, there have been over 1,000 public demonstrations, processions and public meetings in Hong Kong. Unfortunately, many ended in violent and illegal confrontations.

All these have seriously endangered personal safety, public order and public safety, it said.

Police have been carrying out enforcement action in strict accordance with the law to protect life and property and restore order to society.

It said Police have stringent guidelines for the use of force and police officers only use appropriate force when necessary.

The SAR Government explained that it is committed to safeguarding the rule of law and judicial independence in Hong Kong.

The Basic Law entrenches the constitutional principle of prosecutorial independence. The conduct of all criminal prosecutions of the Department of Justice is free from any interference.

Decisions to prosecute or not must be based on an objective and professional assessment of the available evidence and the law.

In addition, the SAR Government has been combating Trafficking in Persons (TIP) and proactively enhancing the protection of foreign domestic helpers.

It established in March 2018 a high-level steering committee chaired by the Chief Secretary and enacted an action plan to enhance protection of foreign domestic helpers.

The SAR Government also allocated over HK$62 million (US$7.9 million) in additional annual funding to create nearly 100 new civil service posts dedicated to fighting against TIP.

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