Beijing’s foreign ministry arm in Hong Kong hits out at US, Canada over travel advisories

On Thursday, Canada called for the second time in a month for “a high degree of caution” for its citizens travelling to Hong Kong due to the laws.

An office spokesman condemned the issuance of the advisories.

“The travel advisories issued by certain countries disregard objective facts, maliciously undermine Hong Kong’s international reputation and seek to obstruct normal business and personnel exchanges,” he said.

The office spokesman noted Hong Kong welcomed 34 million visitors last year, as well as the “continued flow” of foreign capital, enterprises and talent. Photo: Eugene Lee

“We strongly condemn and resolutely oppose such updated travel advisories, which have defamed Hong Kong’s national security legislations and the rule of law, and tarnished the human rights situation in the city.”

Hong Kong enacted the domestic national security law mandated under Article 23 of the city’s mini-constitution on March 23, targeting five areas of crime: treason; insurrection, incitement to mutiny and disaffection, and acts with seditious intent; sabotage; external interference; and theft of state secrets and espionage.

It sits alongside the Beijing-imposed national security law, which outlawed secession, subversion, collusion with foreign forces and terrorism.

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The office spokesman said both laws were in line with the principles of the rule of law and international practices, with clear definitions of offences, as well as full respect for and protection of human rights.

The laws offered ample protection for the normal activities of foreign institutions and their staff in Hong Kong, while other people and institutions need not worry about inadvertently breaking them, he said.

The spokesman noted Hong Kong welcomed 34 million visitors last year, as well as the “continued flow” of foreign capital, enterprises and talent, describing the city as a sought-after destination that had won international recognition.

“We hope that the people of those countries will keep their eyes open and not be misled by politically motivated manipulation,” he added.

In its updated advisory, the US told its nationals that Hong Kong authorities were expected to “take additional actions to further restrict civil liberties” following the enactment of the new national security ordinance.

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American citizens were advised to avoid demonstrations, not to take photographs of protesters or police without permission and to keep a low profile.

Canadian nationals were told they should not expect internet privacy as communications could be monitored at any time, and authorities would be on the lookout for material appearing to be seditious or critical of mainland China or local authorities.

The Hong Kong government also issued a statement attacking the US and Canada for their “distorted” remarks on the new national security ordinance.

“Claims of ‘arbitrary enforcement,’ ‘arbitrary arrests,’ or ‘wrongful imprisonment’ are completely disregarding the facts,” a spokesman said.

He stressed that the city’s law enforcement agencies acted according to evidence, strictly in accordance with the law and took enforcement action against individuals involved in illegal activities.

“The Hong Kong government strongly condemned the attempts by certain countries to use intimidation tactics to achieve their political objectives, interfering with legitimate exchanges among citizens and the business community,” he said.

Australia and Taiwan earlier revised their travel advisories to their residents, warning of possible risks of violating the city’s new national security law.


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