Beijing accuses UK of ‘repeating old tricks’ over report slamming Hong Kong’s national security laws

Beijing has hit out at Britain for “repeating old tricks” with its criticisms of Hong Kong’s national security laws in a recent parliamentary report, stressing the city will prosper despite such efforts.

The commissioner’s office of China’s foreign ministry in Hong Kong on Monday night condemned the report on the city from the UK government, accusing it of smearing the “one country, two systems” governing principle and the national security legal framework.

“Regarding the British government issuing another so-called ‘six-monthly report on Hong Kong’, they are repeating old tricks to make a fuss about the Sino-British Joint Declaration’, a spokesman for the office wrote in a statement.

“White noise that smears and disparages Hong Kong cannot shake the steadfast steps of one country, two systems going far and stable into the future. The new vehicle of Hong Kong in this new era must speed ahead, and no obstruction will be tolerated!”

The Hong Kong government earlier slammed the report after United Kingdom authorities argued the city’s Beijing-imposed national security law had resulted in most local political opposition being “eliminated”.

The parliamentary report said dissent in the city had been “criminalised” and civil society had become “marginalised”.

“Hong Kong authorities’ efforts to stamp out ‘soft resistance’ has targeted even the most minor deviations from unwavering support for the governments of Hong Kong and China,” UK foreign secretary David Cameron wrote in the report.

UK foreign secretary David Cameron has accused Hong Kong authorities of resorting to cracking down on minor issues to “stamp out ‘soft resistance’”. Photo: dpa
The Beijing-decreed national security law came into force in June 2020 after months of anti-government protests in the city. It prohibits acts of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces, which carry a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

The report was issued as Hong Kong held National Security Education Day, with Beijing officials giving speeches about the city’s prospects and direction under the newly bolstered national security laws.

The commissioner’s office spokesman said the day was an occasion marking Hong Kong’s return to order and governance with the completion of its national security legal framework, stressing the situation would not change despite London’s “smears”.

“The newly enacted national security law has further consolidated the city’s strong barriers to defend national security, allowing Hong Kong residents to enjoy all sorts of rights and freedoms under the law with better protection, providing a safer, more stable and efficient business environment for foreign investors,” he added.

Hong Kong slams British ‘smears’ after London’s latest report on city

The message echoed a video address from Xia Baolong, director of the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, during the National Security Education Day opening ceremony on Monday.

Beijing’s top man overseeing Hong Kong affairs said the city had a “future destined to be bright” as it was the “best business environment in the world” and its prosperity would not be harmed by criticism.

The commissioner’s office that evening also accused the UK of interfering in Hong Kong’s affairs because the country held onto its “old colonial dreams”.

“To this day, the United Kingdom continues to accuse China of violating the Joint Declaration, hanging on tight to its so-called ‘responsibility’ over Hong Kong, but these are merely an excuse for them to continue meddling in Hong Kong affairs and causing chaos,” it said.

Since July 1997, the UK foreign secretary has been required to report to parliament every six months on the implementation of the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration, which paved the way for Hong Kong’s return to Chinese sovereignty.


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